Many of our patients ask us the same question: does getting a hair transplant hurt?
It’s a common question, but most people find hair transplants to be a generally painless experience . According to the ISHRS, most patients say that surgical hair restoration is less painful than a trip to the dentist . One of our Wimpole Clinic patients said, “I am very squeamish and have low tolerance for pain, but the procedure was not painful.”
However, if you experience higher levels of pain and discomfort than most people, you may worry that your hair transplant will hurt. Add to that the different types of procedures available, and there’s not always a one-size-fits-all answer.
However, understanding how hair transplant surgery works and learning about the recovery process can help you prepare.
Understanding the procedures
With FUT hair transplants, the healthy hair follicles are removed in small strips from the donor area, then divided into individual hair grafts that are inserted into the affected area. In an FUE transplant the surgeon extracts individual hair follicles which are then inserted into the affected area.
FUT is more invasive than FUE, so the recovery and healing time is likely to be longer . There is also some scarring involved. The FUE procedure leaves little to no scarring and has a faster healing time of 3-7 days.
The difference in procedure and healing times means FUT is generally considered to be slightly more painful than FUE overall. However, both operations are conducted under local anaesthetic, so both are relatively pain-free procedures.
Before and during the surgery
There’s no escaping the fact that a hair transplant is a surgical procedure — so you can expect some slight discomfort.
No matter which type of procedure you have, your surgeon will administer local anaesthetic before the surgery starts. This numbs the area to minimise the pain caused to the patient. Some people find the injection a little painful, but the surgery itself is pain-free.
Some patients report that the process can feel uncomfortable. Patients are awake throughout the surgery, so they have full awareness of what is happening. They can experience some pulling or tugging while the surgery takes place. However, with the local anaesthetic, this is usually uncomfortable rather than painful.
While the procedure itself shouldn’t cause any pain, the scalp is likely to feel tender and sore when the anaesthetic wears off. The scalp tissue has been subjected to trauma, which will inevitably cause redness and some hair transplant swelling during the first few days. Often, the more grafts you’ve had, the longer it takes for the wounds to heal.
Patients can take mild painkillers to help ease any post-surgery pain and discomfort. This includes paracetamol for pain relief, prednisolone to reduce swelling, and tetracycline to prevent infection. Within a few days the soreness should subside.
After this, it’s pretty much plain sailing. Your scalp should no longer hurt, and you can look forward to your new hair growing in a few months’ time.
Can I speed up the hair transplant healing process?
RégimA Post Laser/Post Peel Gel encourages rapid hair transplant healing and reduction in redness. The gel holds in moisture, prevents crusting and accelerates the healing process. It reduces post-op scabbing and is safe to use on even new burns.
It’s essential to stick to the post hair loss surgery guidance you are given and avoid too much contact with the recovering area. You should take care when washing your hair after a hair transplant, wearing hats, and playing sports to avoid healing disruption.
Pain following hair transplant surgery
It’s very rare, but some hair transplant patients do experience complications after their surgery . This can be infected grafts or trauma to the transplanted area. If your grafts still feel sore and tender after 2 weeks, or you’re worried that the grafts aren’t healing as they should be, speak to your hair transplant consultant. They’ll be able to check your progress and prescribe any further treatments as needed.
To minimise the risk of hair transplant complications, follow your consultant’s aftercare advice to the letter. This includes taking any prescribed medications as indicated, and completing full courses of medicines like antibiotics. Learn more about what you should do if you get an infection.
Are hair transplants painful?
Overall, when it comes to hair transplants the pain you might experience is minimal and relatively short-lived — so there’s no need to seek alternatives to hair transplants if you’re worried about pain. The procedures and recovery times are generally quick, so you can get back to your daily life with minimal discomfort.
For most of our patients, this is a small price to pay for restoring their hair and their confidence.
“James, Dr.May and his team were amazing to work with on my journey to hair transplant! The entire staff at Wimpole Clinic are efficient, polite, friendly and genuinely care about you, with a personal touch as well. I cannot express this enough – Wimpole Clinic is the real deal . My procedure was painless.”
Hair transplant recovery
Before you choose a hair transplant, it’s important to understand what the recovery process looks like. This will help you prepare for and manage any pain. You’ll also learn when you can expect to see results from your hair transplant. Find out what you can expect at each stage of recovery.
Hair transplant pain — as told by previous patients
Many of our previous patients have told us that our procedures were a lot less painful than they expected. “[Dr May and his team] made me feel extremely comfortable all the way through and after the initial injections I felt no pain at all.”
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