Does Hair Transplant Hurt or Is It Painless?

Going into the surgery, many people fear being in immense pain. Having a hair transplant isn’t easy. The before-after photos of patients that you see take months in the making. You won’t see the result of your surgery right after you leave the operation theatre. 

After almost a year, you will notice a significant change in the density of your hair. However, before all that happens, you will have to have the surgery itself. And a question that commonly gets asked in regards to that is, “does hair transplant hurt?”

Fortunately, the medical innovations of our era have made hair transplant surgery much better than it was for those who came before us. In this process, we simply take hair follicles from the backside of the head and transfer them to another area. Depending on the number of grafts that you need, the whole surgery can approximately take 6-8 hours. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the ways by which it is ensured that you do not experience any pain during the hair transplant surgery. And so, you’ll get the answer to “does hair transplant hurt or not”. 

Is Hair Transplant Painful?

Hair transplant is a surgical procedure, and it’s performed under local anaesthesia. That means that you won’t feel pain while the extraction, incision, and implantation process is taking place, except for slight discomfort and pressure. Once the anaesthesia starts wearing off, you will feel pain, but it is managed with the help of painkillers. You’ll also have a sore, tender scalp for a while. 

Before the surgery starts, some people get worried about the needles that are going to be used for anaesthesia. If you’re wondering does hair transplant hurt because of that, you should know that it’s possible for you to get needle-free anaesthesia, sedation, and/or numbing cream. These will be given before the injection so that the scalp is numb and you don’t feel the pain from getting the local anaesthesia itself. 

If you prefer one option over the other, you should share this information with your Patient Consultant and also with the surgeon on the day of the surgery. Although hair transplant does not hurt in the traditional sense, it’s normal to have some discomfort during the process. You’ll have to wait until the medications start kicking in. 

Depending on the kind of anaesthesia that you choose to go with, the surgeon will give you specific instructions that you need to follow. For instance, your doctor will tell you to not eat or drink for a specific time period before the surgery. That’s because there’s a risk of you vomiting or getting food or liquid into your lungs which is, of course, very dangerous. 

You also have to make the doctor aware of your medical history or any medications that you’re on. These can affect the local anaesthesia, so make sure to inform your surgeon about every important detail. The local anaesthetic used and its amount can vary depending on certain medical conditions, age, weight, etc. 

How Does Local Anaesthesia Work? 

In local anaesthesia, anaesthetics are injected into a specific part of the body so that the patient is almost pain-free during the surgery. A patient does not lose their consciousness in local anaesthesia as happens in general anaesthesia. It works by blocking the nerve transmission of pain signals to the brain. 

So, in the absence of the anaesthetic, all the actions taking place during the surgery will cause you pain. However, as the nerves are not able to tell the brain that a specific area of the body is in pain, it doesn’t feel pain. It isn’t as if you’ll completely stop having any sensation in that area temporarily. You will slightly feel pressure from the harvesting of grafts in hair transplant surgery.  

This is how it feels to have hair transplant:

At the beginning of the procedure, the surgeon will inject the anaesthetic under the skin to numb the area. It’s normal to feel tingling or burning pain. This does not happen because of the use of needles, as they are very thin. So, they’re barely felt. It’s, in fact, the medicine that produces the burning sensation in the skin. After 5-6 minutes, the medicine will start to kick in, and your head will start to get numb. 

Everyone has a different pain threshold. If you start experiencing pain during the surgery, you should immediately inform the surgeon. Our surgeon will inject more anaesthetics. However, there’s a limit for a patient to take anaesthetics. It can take almost 4-6 hours until the effects of anaesthesia start wearing off. You can feel a tingly sensation just as that happens. 

Is FUE Hair Transplant Painful with the Needle-Free Anaesthesia?

Some people have an extreme fear of hypodermic needles or injections – a condition called trypanophobia. Understandably, we want to make things as comfortable as possible for those patients who have this problem. So, we have made sure to include a needle-free option to introduce local anaesthetics in the patient’s body. Those wondering “does hair transplant hurt” don’t have to worry about it with this. 

In this technique, a jet injector that spouts high-speed anaesthetic on the head is used. It then enters the skin for a nearly painless experience. However, needles are needed to numb the area completely after the use of jet injectors. Keep in mind that you will feel less pain than you usually would while being given local anaesthesia after the jet injectors. That’s because the jet injectors will have already numbed the area.  

There are certain benefits to this method. There’s a reduced risk of infection than when an anaesthetic is administered the traditional way. Moreover, you also won’t feel the discomfort and pain as happens in the case of needles. Additionally, the needle-free option also allows for the speedy injection of the anaesthetic.

Does Getting A Hair Transplant Hurt with IV Sedation?

No, you won’t feel any pain with IV sedation. The drug not only reduces anxiety but also makes the patient feel sleepy during the procedure. Here too, there are some pre-operative instructions that the patient needs to follow. A requirement for getting sedated for a hair transplant surgery is that the patient has to fast the night prior to the surgery. 

Therefore, make sure that you inform us about the choice of this option before travelling to Turkey. It is not possible to give the patient sedatives on the day of the surgery if we are not informed beforehand as we have to make special arrangements before the surgery for sedation. 

For us to administer the right amount of sedative, you need to inform us about your medical history. Otherwise, there’s a risk of under or over-sedation.  

Does Hair Transplant Hurt with Numbing Cream?

Half an hour before the surgery starts, our surgeon applies the numbing cream to the donor area to numb it. With the help of this cream, you will feel less pain during the local anaesthesia administration. Therefore, if you’re worried about “does hair transplant hurt” because of the local anaesthesia injection, you can discuss getting a numbing cream with your doctor.  

What To Do for Pain After FUE Hair Transplant?

The clinic will give you painkillers that you’d need to take on the day of the surgery and a few days after to deal with the pain once the anaesthesia starts wearing off. 

The healing process can vary from one patient to another. More grafts mean more scars, which may cause more pain and discomfort during the procedure. You’ll be prescribed the medications according to your case. 

People have different pain thresholds. Some might consider whatever pain they’re having not that discomforting. But others might need to take painkillers to deal with pain. However, there’s no restriction against the latter as, of course, each patient has a different pain tolerance level. 

Because of anaesthesia and painkillers, the answer to the question “does hair transplant hurt after it’s over” is: not significantly. However, it’s normal to have some sensations of pressure and discomfort during the procedure. After the surgery, if the pain becomes unbearable and worsens by the day, get in touch with us. 

If you feel that you are not getting better by the day and instead of healing, you start noticing some other troubling things, such as signs of infection (which includes more pain), then immediately contact us.


The question that does hair transplant hurt is frequently asked. The fear of pain is associated with almost every surgery. While the experience is almost painless, you might have some discomfort during the procedure. 

However, hair transplant surgery wouldn’t be without it as it involves taking out grafts from the donor area and cutting the skin to insert these grafts back. You will feel pressure and movements, but they will not create as much discomfort. 

You shouldn’t delay getting a hair transplant surgery because of this; some options make even the administration of anaesthesia pain-free, like sedation, needle-free anaesthesia, and numbing cream. 

Also, after the surgery, you’ll have painkillers to manage the pain once the effects of anaesthesia start wearing off. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about dealing with pain when getting a hair transplant. 

Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.

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