This question comes from a member of our Hair Restoration Social Community and Discussion Forums:
I’m researching hair transplant surgery (follicular unit transplantation/FUT), but concerned that local anesthesia and not general anesthesia is used during the procedure. I have a low tolerance for pain and I’m worried about staying awake during the surgery. Is there any way that I can be “put under” with general anesthesia for the entire procedure or at least the strip removal stage?
Although many people become anxious before surgical procedures and would like to completely “skip” the experience by receiving general anesthetic, this type of sedation is simply not necessary in hair transplantation.
There are several reasons why general anesthetic is not used in hair transplant procedures: first, the use of local anesthetic (numbing injections in the universal donor region) has proved both safe and effective for hair restoration physicians and patients, and this is unlikely to change. Additionally, many physicians also offer their patients some type of oral medication to help relax and fight the exact type of anxiety you describe.
Second, hair transplant surgery can often take a long time, and it simply doesn’t make sense to keep someone under sedation for a period of this length unless they are undergoing invasive surgery. Furthermore, the strip removal phase of the operation is too short of a period for general anesthetic. Lastly, most hair transplant patients, even the ones who had reservations about the pain or experience before the procedure, report that the levels of discomfort were actually quite minimal, and they were able to sleep, relax, watch television, or even listen to music during their procedure.
It’s completely normal to be anxious before any type of medical procedure, but if you select an excellent hair transplant surgeon you’re likely to have a positive experience from beginning to end and hopefully inform future patients that the procedure was “no problem.”
Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”
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