Individuals considering a hair transplant, generally spend a lot of time researching and watching plenty of videos on hair transplantation prior to their procedure. Even though they may be able to visualize and understand the concepts of hair transplantation; what it really feels like to undergo the operation can only be known by experience. In this article, Dr. Serkan Aygin will try to provide an answer to one of the most common questions asked by many individuals planning on undergoing a hair transplant; “Is the procedure painful?” In order to have a clear understanding of what a pain-free hair transplant (painless hair transplant, needle-free hair transplant) is, the first thing that should be known is the areas that will be exposed to pain. This, in turn, requires an understanding on the basic principles of a hair transplant procedure.
The Most Comfortable Hair Transplant Method: FUE Technique
As a FUE procedure is basically performed with minimal surgical intervention, it is considered as the most comfortable hair transplant method. The only alternative that can be compared with this method is the FUT procedure. Apart from FUE and FUT, what are the other methods that are referred to by a variety of names? How are these names determined?
Sub-Techniques of the FUE Hair Transplant Method
DHI (Direct Hair Transplantation), is the process of transplanting grafts, which have been extracted under the basic principles of the FUE method, by the utilization of a choi (implanter) pen. Robotic FUE, Sapphire FUE, Micro Motor FUE, Hair Transplantation by Percutaneous Technique,
U-Graft FUE and many more names can be added. Some examples;
Unshaven Hair Transplant, which is not directly related to a technique or our topic, Painless Hair Transplant, Needle-Free Hair Transplant, which we will be covering in this article. Even though each method has it’s distinctive features, they all are built upon the basis of FUE principles.
The main objective of these technical improvements, is to perform a hair transplant procedure in a way that causes the least amount of discomfort and pain on the patient. In a FUE hair transplant procedure, fundamentally there are two areas to be operated upon.These areas involve minor surgical activity.
- The process of harvesting individual follicular grafts from the donor area with the aid of micro motors. Creation of recipient sites for graft placement.
- Both processes require the administration of anesthesia.
1. Harvesting Grafts
This process involves extracting follicular units with the help of a micro motor and micropunch tips. The process of separating grafts from the surrounding donor tissue, is naturally carried out with the utilization of a sharp punch attached to the motorised device. For this reason the extraction process requires local anesthesia to be administered. Even though anesthesia is administered to the patient, another element that will increase the comfort of the operation, is to minimize the rotational speed of the punches and more importantly, to use sharp punches made of surgical steel grade. An indicator of a quality hair transplant clinic, is the quality contained within the equipment that is used. Unfortunately, it may not be that easy to understand this during the operation. You will, however, be able to evaluate the quality of the clinic during the postoperative phase.
Before graft placement, incisions have be to created within the recipient site. This step incorporates two fundamental principles. The first one is; making recipient sites before donor harvesting. The second one is; loading the graft in the front section of the choi pen needle, with this needle being used to create the recipient site and implanting the graft simultaneously. DHI method requires the utilization of steel needles. Once again, the quality of steel grade (needles) will be in direct proportion to the quality of the clinic or to the importance placed upon the work carried out. However, in methods derived from the classic FUE technique, where recipient sites are created before extracting the grafts, incisions can be made with sapphire blades instead of using steel blades. This, in turn, will provide comfort to the patient during the postoperative period. The underlying reason is that Sapphire blades have a smoother surface in comparison with steel blades and this, reduces the risk of complications such as skin or tissue damage.
The Need For Anesthesia in Hair Transplantation
Administration of anesthetic agents prior to the two fundamental processes of a FUE hair transplant procedure is unavoidable. The active ingredient in the anesthetic agent delivered into the skin, only numbs the surrounding area where the anesthetic has been given, enabling the micro surgical procedure to be carried out. The choice of anesthetic technique to be applied will obviously have an impact on the level of comfort experienced. Definitions such as pain-free hair transplant, painless hair transplant and needle-free hair transplant mentioned in this article, are expressions that define the level of comfort experienced throughout the operation and are related to the anesthetic technique that is being conducted.
The routes of administration of anesthetic agents that are associated with a painless hair transplant procedure are:
General anesthesia: When it comes to anesthetics used in a hair transplant procedure, general anesthesia usually does not take place among them. While general anesthesia puts the patient into a deep sleep it also carries a higher risk of serious complications.
Regional anesthesia: Regional anesthesia can be expressed as the process of making a specific part of the body numb to relieve pain. Just like general anesthesia, regional anesthesia is also not used in a hair transplant surgery.
Local anesthesia: Local anesthetics is the most widely used type of anesthesia in hair transplant procedures. Local anesthesia can be administered by needle-free jet injection (diffusion with high pressure) and by the traditional injection technique.
Sedation: Among other applications, this method stands out to be the most comfortable practice. It can be applied both through inhalation as well as vascular access placed from the arm.
The element that increases the feeling of comfort, is the ability to adjust the dose of sedation according to the patients’ needs and through continuous monitoring, the abilty to reduce its effect whenever needed.
Since babies can also be administered sedation, it can be considered as a highly safe method.
As Dr. Serkan Aygin Clinic, we use local anesthetics during our hair transplant operations. Anesthesia can be administered via needle-free jet injections and according to preferrences also with sedation.
Painless, Pain-Free Hair Transplant
What is meant by a painless, pain-free hair transplant procedure is that the local anesthetic injection pain experienced by the patient during the process of extracting follicular unit grafts as well as the transplantation process, will be completely eliminated, transforming hair transplant operations into painless procedures..
Local Anesthetic Administration With Injection Needles
In hair transplantation, during the process of donor harvesting and recipient site creation, local anesthesia is required. This local anesthesia in its simplest form is administered via needle injection. To describe the pain felt in local anesthesia injection; it is similar to the pain experienced in dental procedures. The needles used in this particular application of local anesthetics are very thin and cause minor skin irritation. The needle tip which is inserted parallel to the skin surface, administer the local anesthetics where the nerves are diffusely spread about in the tissue and is then slowly pulled out from the skin. As a result, with the least amount of needles injected, local anesthetic distribution is spread widely throughout the space. The new, advanced version of local anesthetic injection with reduced pain levels, is local anesthesia administered by jet injection. In this application, instead of using a needle, the anesthetic solution is delivered by using mechanical energy to create a pressure, which is enough to push a dose of anesthetic agents through a very small orifice.
There are two types of jet-injectors in the application of needle-free local anesthetics:
Needleless injector with plastic body: As the pressure applied will be less retained on the skin surface, it can take up to 1-2 minutes for the anesthetic to take effect.
Needleless injector with steel body: As a higher amount of pressure can be applied, a greater volume of local anesthetics can be delivered through the skin in one go.
Local anesthesia applied via utilizing a steel body, takes effect within seconds. In his operations, Dr. Serkan Aygin uses local anesthetic devices both with its device body made of plastic and steel. In this application, direct contact with the skin is at minumum levels and when the injector is fired with high pressure, this, in turn, allows the active ingredients to be delivered into the skin. As a result, with this application, the pain that is normally experienced with injection needles, is totally eliminated. Anesthesia administered by needle-free injectors, significantly reduce the amount of pain experienced.
The Most Comfortable Anesthesia Experience: Needle-Free Anesthesia and Sedation
Today, the most advanced method to reduce pain is to give sedation before applying local anesthetics with a needle-free injector made of steel. The requirements for this application, is to administer sedation intravenously a few minutes before the operation. The medications used for sedation are administered through an intravenous line.
Intravenous sedation is administered by an anaesthetist, taking into account the patient’s age, weight and body condition.
Sedation differs from general anesthesia. General anesthesia is used to put the patient into a deep sleep and makes the patient fully unconscious. On the other hand, the patient under sedation will be awake but will feel relaxed and at ease.
The reason why sedation can be considered as a safe application is that; it can be administered for all age groups, ranging from newly born infants to the elderly. As Dr. Serkan Aygin Clinic, we use a needle-free injection system to administer local anesthetics to our patients.Additionally, for patients who have a lower pain threshold, after reviewing their condition, the procedure can be carried out with local anesthesia combined with sedation.
Other Factors That Make A Hair Transplant Procedure Pain-Free
- Using a micromotor that rotates at a low speed during the extraction process.
- Using a micromotor featuring small cylindrical needles (punches) that are made of high-quality surgical steel grade.
- Renewal of the cylindrical needles that are used during the extraction process before the punch becomes blunt due to excessive usage.
- Utilization of special sapphire blades instead of steel blades during the process of creating incisions within the recipient site.
- Having the wound-dressings, which will be done shortly after the operation as well as the following day, carried out by health-care professionals,are other factors that can affect the overall comfort of the operation.
Patients have achieved natural, successful and satifactory results with ‘Hair Transplantation’ performed at Dr. Serkan Aygın Clinic. If you are considering a hair transplant or would like to obtain more information on hair transplantation, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.