Does Hair Restoration Hurt?

Does Hair Restoration Hurt? It goes without saying that patients want to avoid pain during any medicinal or operational process. Particularly if the procedure is an optional or aesthetic one. So, it stands to reason that patients generally ask about discomfort and hair transplant surgery. Especially, they want to know if a hair transplant is a painful process or if they will feel any discomfort during the operation?

Hair Operation

Many people ask this question. Thankfully, the answer is: no, a hair operation is not a distasteful process. However, this does not mean there is definitely no discomfort whatsoever. Even the most minimally invasive or innocuous medical methods do have some sort of discomfort, and a hair operation is no exception. Fortunately, the “pain” is short and temporary. Most patients tell almost no pain whatsoever and describe a hair transplant as a very easy and somewhat amusing experience. Although it may be an “easy” experience, patients should still know what this entails and what kind of discomfort they may feel before, during, and after the operation.

Before Surgery

The only physical pain a patient feels through a hair transplant includes the numbing medication. Once the scalp is prepped and numb, a patient feels nothing throughout all day. The process of numbing the scalp is done in two parts: first is numbing in the donor area where we take the grafts from and the second is numbing in the recipient section where we will implant the new grafts. Numbing in the donor area occurs before the surgery itself really begins.

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The first thing the doctor will do the morning of surgery after the plan is unmistakably marked and the scalp is washed and shaved then numb the donor area. Applying a local anesthetic — the same kind of medication the dentist uses to numb before filling a cavity — the doctor will inject little amounts of the medication across the whole section. The injections are superficial, fast, and done using a very little needle. Because of this, pain is minimum.

Most patients equate it to a small “pinching” sensation swiftly maintained by numbness as the medication “kicks in.” While it needs around 10-15 minutes for the numbing medication to take full effect, most patients tell feeling numb within seconds to minutes. After this, nothing else is sensed in the donor region. The doctor can remove the tissue — via the FUE technique — without the patient feeling anything. The numbing medication usually continues for 3 hours and is systematically touched-up throughout the day before it wears off and patients may feel pain.

During Surgery

Does Hair Restoration Hurt? As explained above, patients will feel nothing during the extraction aspect of operation after the numbing medication is used. But, a hair operation, simplified, is made in two parts: the first part is the removal of the grafts from the donor and the second part is re-implantation of the grafts in the recipient areas (the balding and thinning areas). Just like in the donor area, the recipient area must be numbed before our doctor can make incisions and the grafts can be placed behind into the scalp.

This procedure is similar to the donor numbing; our doctor will inject the same local anesthesia into the recipient region (or, more accurately, directly in front of the recipient area several millimeters in front of the hairline) and the whole area will numb within a few minutes. Once the anesthetic has been applied, the doctor and technicians can work in the area without the patient noticing anything. The numbing in the recipient area is the last thing the patient will feel the entire day.

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After this, the whole scalp — from the very front to the donor in the very back — is completely numb. The entire surgery can now be completed without any pain. While the patient may desire to readjust and take breaks to stretch and walk around to avoid the discomfort of sitting for a long period, there will be no physical pain from the operation itself. If the patient does begin to sense pain, he or she will let the crew know and the doctor will inject the more numbing medication.

After Surgery

Does Hair Restoration Hurt? So we understand patients will have no discomfort during operation after the anesthesia is administered, but what about after operation? What follows after the numbing medication wears off?


Fortunately, patients tell very small to no pain after surgery as well. The doctor will re-administer the numbing medication after the operation is ended. This means the patient has almost 3 hours of numbness before it wears off and any kind of possible pain may occur. The patient now has 3 hours to get back to where they are living, get settled, and most importantly, begin the post-operative pain pills. If the patient takes the oral medication as told and builds up some pain medication in their system before the numbing wears off, they should transition nicely and feel no pain.


They will then take the pain medications a few more times as told the night of surgery, and go to bed pain-free. By the next morning, all possible for pain should be gone. The vast majority of patients tell feeling discomfort and do not need any kind of medication the day after surgery. If they do feel any slight discomfort, they should have a few remaining pain pills to utilize or they can take Tylenol (acetaminophen). However, this is just for minimal pain and most patients do not even need this.

So, is a hair transplant distasteful? Thanks to local anesthesia and post-operative pain medications, no, a hair operation is not unpleasant. While no operation can be entirely painless and some short and temporary level of pain is possible, a hair transplant is typically a comfortable and easy operation for most hair loss patients.

Once patients had the transplant, they were amazed at how little pain is really involved with this process. They kicked themselves for having to live with the hair loss that bothered them extremely—usually for many years—because of this anxiety.  A frequent regret expressed by these patients was, “ I should have done it earlier!” Does Hair Restoration Hurt?

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