how does anesthesia for hair transplant works

Anaesthesia for a hair transplant: what to expect?

Even though hair transplantation involves minimal intervention, it is necessary to numb the scalp, as quite a big area can be operated on. Anaesthesia for hair transplants is responsible for making the entire procedure as comfortable as possible.

A lot of our patients are concerned that they may experience pain and discomfort during the surgery. However, you can rest assured that the doctors will try to make your experience in the clinic worry-free and comfortable.


  1. What kind of anaesthesia is used for hair transplants?
  2. What do we do to make the surgery less painful?
  3. Are there any side effects of using anaesthesia for a hair transplant?
  4. Are you awake during hair transplant surgery?
  5. Is general anaesthesia required during hair transplant surgery?
  6. How long does pain after a hair transplant last?
  7. Conclusion

What kind of anaesthesia is used for hair transplants?

In essence, there are 3 types of anaesthesia: local, regional and general. In hair transplants, the doctor administers local anaesthesia and slight sedation are used. This is enough for the patient to be at ease while still reacting to the prompts from the doctors.

Is sedation the same as anaesthesia?

Sedation is one of the effects of general anaesthesia along with loss of consciousness, muscle relaxation, suspension of reflexes, analgesia and amnesia. General anaesthesia puts the patient to sleep, after which he or she will not remember anything.

What do we do to make the surgery less painful?

Intraoperative measures :

Slight sedation is only used to manage anxiety and fear, whereas the patient still stays conscious, responsive and aware of the surroundings. Deep sedation shuts down the patient’s responses to external stimuli except for repeated and painful ones. However, the patient may still be aware of the outer environment.

  • A local anaesthetic is administered to numb the pain during surgery.
  • Infiltration with the tumescent technique: this is a type of local anaesthesia that makes the targeted area firm and swollen due to a large dose of a very diluted anaesthetic. This makes it easier to implant the grafts into the tissue. Tumescent anaesthesia also allows for extensive numbing of larger skin areas without the risk of toxicity.
  • Vasoconstrictors are used to narrow blood vessels and reduce the bleeding that occurs during the transplantation.
  • A cold compress can be applied to the donor area to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Slight sedation helps the patient relax and become sleepy. It also shortens the perception of time, which is very useful for the patient, considering that the surgery lasts for several hours.

Postoperative measures :

  • Anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed for oral use for a few days following the surgery.
  • In rare cases, the patient may need to take antibiotics if there is any risk of infection.

Are there any side effects of using anaesthesia for a hair transplant?

There may be different adverse reactions to local anaesthetics, i.e. toxic, allergic or psychogenic. However, negative bodily reactions to anaesthesia are very rare. In the majority of cases, the side effects are triggered by fear and anxiety of the patient. Hence, we also use mild sedation with the patients who are stressed out by the upcoming surgery.

Comfort-In injection method for less pain

In modern hair clinics, regular anaesthesia is combined with the Comfort-In system. Instead of injecting the medication with a needle, the anaesthesia is administered by a high-pressure punch. The depth of pressure is only 0.15 mm doesn’t leave any marks.

Comfort-In anaesthesia for a hair transplant is a great alternative for those patients who are afraid of needles. The procedure lasts only a few seconds during which you will feel some slight pressure.

Comfort-In system makes the anaesthetic spread out faster as high pressure allows for better distribution over the entire area. It is also less painful than a normal syringe method.

Are you awake during hair transplant surgery?

Yes, the patient is awake during the procedure although he or she may feel sleepy due to mild sedation. Only deep sedation and general anaesthesia make the patient lose consciousness, however, they are not used in hair transplants.

Is general anaesthesia required during hair transplant surgery?

There is no need to use general anaesthesia for a hair transplant. The procedure only involves mild intervention on the skin and can be managed solely with local anaesthetics. General anaesthesia may pose a risk for some patients and should be avoided, if possible. Besides, it is better if the patient is responsive and aware of some pressure or tugging.

How long does pain after a hair transplant last?

For a few days after the surgery, the patient may experience a slight loss of sensation in the scalp. Also, the scalp may become itchy. This is a normal side effect that means that the incisions are healing.

In comparison to the FUT method, the patients operated with the FUE technique do not report significant pain after the surgery. Some discomfort usually persists for about 1 week after the procedure.


Hair transplantation is a highly safe and minimally invasive type of surgery that can be performed with local anaesthetics only. Some patients may want to stay fully unconscious during the procedure to avoid anxiety and have no perception of time. However, general anaesthesia is not recommended here, as it can pose a risk of allergy or other adverse reactions.

To make the patient feel completely at ease and peaceful, mild sedation is administered. The patient will remain awake and be able to interact with the surgical team.

Moreover, the anaesthetic can be administered with the Comfort-In system. This is ideal for those afraid of pain and needle pricks. The punch method is much less painful than the use of a syringe and ensures a better distribution of the anaesthetic over the scalp area.

If you have any questions regarding anaesthesia for hair transplants, feel free to contact our specialists who will be happy to answer all your queries. Furthermore they can also propose a free and non binding hair analysis. So don’t hesitate if you want to benefit from Dr. Balwi and Elithairtransplant’s expertise for a successful and affordable hair transplant in Turkey !

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