Pain Associated With Hair Transplant Procedures
Today I will discuss discomfort associated with the Hair Transplant procedure. Many patients are anxious prior to the procedure that the pain will be extremely intense both during the procedure and after the procedure. I have also encountered patients who have been treated elsewhere who did experience significant discomfort either during their procedures or afterward. I can honestly say that the vast majority of my patients report very little discomfort both during the procedure and after the procedure. Typically the greatest discomfort is the first night post procedure and in most cases by the second day after the hair transplant, most of the pain has resolved.
The first thing I do when a patient arrives on the day of their procedure, after they have signed consent forms and all their questions have been answered, we give them a small amount of oral Valium in order to relax. To minimize the pain during the injections of the local anesthetic I use a massaging device that barrages the brain with vibratory sensation thus making the discomfort of the injections very minimal. I have used many different anesthetic devices in the past (The Wand, etc.) and without a doubt this is the most painless way to administer the local anesthetic. I extract the donor strip meticulously and close the donor area with a very fine suture. This also minimizes post procedure discomfort as compared to metal staples or thick sutures which can both be very uncomfortable.
There is never any post procedure pain in the transplanted region. Typically there is some discomfort the first evening after the procedure and the patient is given pain medication is order to alleviate this pain. Usually by the second day, most if not all of the pain is gone and the sutures have been described as “slightly annoying”. With FUE there is almost no discomfort starting day 1 after the procedure and there are no sutures.
I have met so many patients who were scared to undergo the procedure because of their fear of injections or their fear of the pain involved. Universally the feedback has been that the pain associated with the hair transplant procedure, whether by FUT (Strip Harvest Procedure) or FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), is so much less than they were anticipating and would never again deter them from having a follow up procedure.
I hope this helps to alleviate some concern among prospective patients regarding discomfort during and after the hair transplant procedure.
All the best,
Marc Dauer, MD