We did a hair transplant last week on a man who initially complained of terrible pain. I was surprised as his reaction to even the initial numbing of the donor area, then he added that he needs to get put to sleep for dental cleaning. We often give our patients a valium before the procedure and even a pain pill as needed, and this almost always eliminates discomfort. But this guy had to drive 4 hours after the hair restoration procedure and that wasn’t an option.
So we did the next best thing. The female cutters came in and talked with him. They quickly distracted him enough to breeze through both donor anesthesia, strip harvest and closure, and recipient anesthesia. But they had to get to work doing microscopic dissection and no sooner had they left the room than his discomfort and anxiety returned.
I had made about 25 dense pack 0.7mm slits and this guy was about to jump out of the chair. After a bit of discussion, it wasn’t pain that was bothering him, it was the sound of the slits being created.
I had him start text-messaging all of his friends(he was able to keep his head still thankfully) and we turned on classic Van Halen and he tolerated 1800 slits being created in his balding areas without any trouble.
For this fellow, like most people, distraction is the key to tolerating any situation, whether it be hair replacement or going with your wife to the ballet.
And when we got done, he was the first to admit that there was very little actual pain, it was mainly “worry-ation” and concern about potential discomfort.
William Lindsey, M.D.