Is the ARTAS robotic procedure painful? That depends on the practice.....
The only discomfort associated with an ARTAS robotic procedure is with the initial anesthesia, which is performed using a tiny needle to numb the nerves leading up from your neck to the scalp. The numbness is deep once attained, but the nerve blocking drugs (like lidocaine, which is very commonly used) cause a chemical reaction in your skin when administered. They cause the nerves of pain to be stimulated, causing some pain, and then the nerve goes numb. There is a very steep exponential curve between the rate of injection and the pain experienced; for example, if the physician (or, as is sadly often the case, some technician) injects twice as fast, it's not twice as painful, it's about 40 times as painful.
As a result, in clinics where multiple procedures are performed by one physician per day, and there is a need to be fast, then the discomfort can tend to be higher. In clinics where one procedure per day is performed by the surgeon, such as at our center, the is no rush to complete the surgery, and the entire procedure is next-to-painless. I have had dozens and dozens of patients tell me it's not even as intense as having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist. My patient last Friday told me that the entire experiences "hurt less than a haircut." I asked him to elaborate, because as much of a compliment as that was, I told him I didn't think that was possible. He was insistent, and said, "you know when they shave under your chin there? That hurts more than this procedure."
Having an Artas FUE procedure is no different than any other FUE procedure in terms of pain. The Artas is just a tool/device that facilitates and FUE procedure. Generally the only time a patient experiences discomfort is during the anesthetic injections which only lasts about 60 seconds.
Patients do not experience any pain or discomfort with the ARTAS robotic procedure
As with manual FUE, robotic FUE hair transplantation is an outpatient procedure performed under long-acting local anesthesia – a combination of lidocaine and bupivacaine. After the initial injections, the patient does not experience any pain or discomfort.
Before starting local anesthesia, we give most patients oral valium and intra-muscular midazolam (a very fast acting sedative that is very relaxing). While some patients doze off at the beginning of the procedure, others prefer to watch TV, a film, or just chat.
Local anesthesia generally wears off after 4-5 hours, so for transplant sessions lasting longer than this, we will give more anesthesia before the first wears off. With Robotic FUE, there is no discomfort once the procedure is completed and the anesthesia wears off. This is in stark contrast to an FUT strip procedure which can be uncomfortable in the donor area for days to weeks.
How Painful is ARTAS Hair Restoration Surgery?
The patient does not feel any pain in hair surgery once the local anaesthetic injections are completed and the medication takes effect. The method of surgery doesn't matter. However the duration of surgery does matter as after a certain period of time the effect of the medication diminishes. In this case the injections must be repeated or the patient will start feeling pain.
How I make ARTAS more comfortable:
The only pain associated with the ARTAS procedure is the injections to numb the treatment areas. This takes me just a few minutes to perform a full nerve block and all of my patients get an on demand Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) machine to use during the these uncomfortable brief injections. Otherwise, the positioning throughout the day can be at times slightly uncomfortable, but not painful. I have upgraded some of the ARTAS stock pillows with gel inserts which my patients find much more comfortable now. After the procedure, pain is very uncommon and I do not even write for any pain meds, not because I'm against pain meds, they are just not necessary. Other types of hair restoration procedures can have significant post-procedural pain in the short and long term.
ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration Painful?
The ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration is not painful. It is completed using local anesthesia. A patient may feel slight discomfort from the onset of delivering the local anesthesia, but the entire procedure is virtually painless.
ARTAS like any other FUE procedure should not be painful. The discomfort associated with local anesthesia is minimized by the administration of oral sedation. This takes the edge off the local anesthesia infiltration. A pain scale should be used where you report any discomfort to the doctor. One is very minimal and 10 requires going to the hospital for a pain shot. Most patients are anesthetized with only mild discomfort, and through the use of longer acting local anesthetic like septocaine or marcaine the block is maintained for a prolonged time.
Pain after an ARTAS System FUE procedure.
We make sure all of our procedures are virtually painless. With the ARTAS System FUE the recovery is quick and very little discomfort the day after the procedure, mainly due to the fact there is no suture in the scalp. The wounds are closed the next day and hair starts growing in the donor area immediately.
Before the procedure, the donor area is anesthetized with local anesthesia. This part can hurt a bit and if your injector goes slow, the pain can be minimized. During the procedure, there should not be any pain. After the procedure, the donor area can be tender for a few days. However, pain thresholds differ between people.
FUE procedures are much easier on the patient than the strip FUT procedures. I always hear it from the previous strip patients that come for a secondary procedure : Doc, this was nothing in comparison with the strip surgery. Most patients do not even take pain medications and return to activities without delay