Table of Contents
Hair loss is a common issue for many individuals, and for those who suffer from it, hair transplantation can be a viable solution. One of the biggest concerns for those considering a hair transplant is the level of pain that can be expected during and after the procedure. In this article, we will take a closer look at hair grafting, including how it is performed, what to expect during the procedure, and how much pain can be expected.
What is a hair graft?
A hair graft is a surgical procedure in which hair follicles are taken from one area of the scalp and transplanted to another area of the scalp. The most common type of hair graft is called follicular unit transplantation (FUT), in which a strip of hair is removed from the back of the scalp and the individual hair follicles are then transplanted to the area of hair loss. Another common method is called follicular unit extraction (FUE), in which individual hair follicles are removed from the scalp and transplanted to the area of hair loss.
II. How is the procedure performed?
The procedure for a hair graft is typically performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area of the scalp where the hair follicles will be removed. The procedure can take several hours to complete, depending on the number of hair follicles being transplanted.
During FUT, a strip of hair is removed from the back of the scalp, and the individual hair follicles are then harvested from the strip. The strip is generally taken from the back of the head, where there is an abundance of hair that is less visible. This area of the scalp is carefully numbed using local anesthesia to minimize any discomfort. The surgeon will use a scalpel to remove a strip of skin and hair. The strip will be typically around 1 cm wide and 15 cm long; the length of the strip will depend on the number of grafts needed.
The harvested follicles are then transplanted to the area of hair loss. The harvested follicles are generally divided into smaller units called “follicular units,”, which contain one to four hairs each. These units are then carefully inserted into the scalp in the area of hair loss, in a manner that mimics the natural direction of hair growth. The transplanted hair will start to grow within 3-4 months after the procedure.
During FUE, the individual hair follicles are removed from the scalp using a special tool called a punch tool, which punches out a small circular section of skin around the hair follicle. This tool can vary in diameter from 0.8mm to 1.2mm. The harvested follicles are then transplanted to the area of hair loss.
The procedure is typically performed using local anesthesia, and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The surgeon will use the punch tool to remove individual hair follicles from the back of the head, which is typically the area of the scalp that has the most hair. The hair follicles are then transplanted to the area of hair loss. The transplanted hair will start to grow within 3-4 months after the procedure.
Once the procedure is completed, the surgeon will bandage the area of the scalp that was treated to protect the transplanted hair follicles. The procedure itself is relatively comfortable, as the area of the scalp that is being worked on is numbed with local anesthesia. The procedure can take several hours to complete, depending on the number of hair follicles being transplanted.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Before the procedure, the patient will have a consultation with the surgeon to discuss their medical history and the desired outcome of the procedure. The patient will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the procedure. The surgeon will also provide instructions on what to do and what to avoid prior to the procedure, such as avoiding blood-thinning medications and alcohol.
During the procedure, the patient will be seated in a comfortable chair, and the area of the scalp that will be treated will be numbed using local anesthesia. The procedure itself may take several hours, depending on the number of hair follicles that need to be transplanted.
Pain After the Procedure
After the procedure, the scalp may be sore and swollen for a few days. This is normal and is caused by the trauma to the scalp caused by the procedure. Pain medication may be prescribed to help manage any discomfort. Additionally, the surgeon may also recommend cold compresses to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Some patients may experience itching and redness around the transplanted area. These symptoms typically subside within a week or two. The transplanted hair may also fall out during the first couple of weeks after the procedure, which is also normal as the hair follicles will enter a dormant phase before starting to regrow.
It’s important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon to ensure proper healing and minimize any pain or discomfort. The instructions typically include avoiding strenuous activity, not washing your hair for the first couple of days, and not exposing the scalp to the sun.
Recovery time for a hair graft can vary depending on the individual and the method used. Most patients are able to return to work within a week after the procedure, but some may need up to two weeks to fully recover.
Like any surgical procedure, hair grafts do carry some risks. Potential complications include infection, bleeding, and scarring. However, these complications are generally rare, and most patients experience little to no pain and have a successful outcome.
A hair graft is a surgical procedure that can be a successful solution for individuals suffering from hair loss. The procedure is relatively painless, with patients reporting mild discomfort during and after the procedure. Recovery time is typically short, with most patients returning to work within a week. With proper care and a skilled surgeon, the risks of complications are minimal, and the outcome can be natural-looking and long-lasting.