Prospective hair transplant clients are sometimes concerned about potential pain that they might experience during the procedure, but unlike many other cosmetic procedures a hair transplant does not hurt at all while it is being performed and especially not if the client is under general anesthesia. However, many doctors are moving away from general anesthesia as they do not deem it necessary. And especially not for the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) method which is minimally invasive. For most hair transplant procedures the client will be awake but the scalp will be numb under local anesthesia and the client is not likely to feel anything.
A handful of doctors might still use general anesthesia for the Strip, or for some other hair transplant procedure, such as a flap or a scalp reduction. Some doctors might also use general anesthesia it if the client is overly anxious and requests it, but overall it is not a must. In other words, there is no need for general anesthesia when it comes to most hair transplant procedures and definitely not in regards to the FUE hair transplant, because it is a more gentle, scalpel and stitch free approach.
The only discomfort during a hair transplant procedure may occur when the local anesthesia is being injected, often by needle. However, some doctors will apply some sort of topical pain relief before injecting the local anesthesia, in order to make the process as pain free as possible. Once the local anesthesia has had a chance to kick in, about 5 to 10 minutes later, the client will feel no pain during the procedure.
Many hair transplant experts agree that general anesthesia should be reserved for more serious surgeries and not cosmetic procedures like hair transplants because it carries a small risk of complications. The risk increases if the client is older or has some medical condition, such as a heart or nervous system illness. Clients who take certain medications, drink, smoke and take drugs also face a higher risk of potential general anesthesia complications, which include changes in heart rate or blood pressure which in turn could lead to a stroke or heart attack. In healthy people, the risk that comes with general anesthesia is very low, but even lower when it comes to local anesthesia.
Overall, there is no need to worry about or anticipate pain when it comes to hair transplant surgery. A caring doctor will make sure that his client is as comfortable as possible. If the client has a low pain tolerance the doctor can take additional steps to make sure that there is no pain in any way, but most hair transplant clients are surprised at how comfortable the procedure is. The only minor discomfort might come from having to sit still for many hours in a row, but that is a small price to pay for getting new hair that will be in place for a lifetime.