It has been quite a long time since a treatment has come along that I would entertain trying. That was until I started to hear more about PRP therapy. In my post titled “Is PRP Therapy a Viable Treatment For Women’s Hair Loss” I wrote that I was more of a “wait and see person,” but I thought… “What the heck?” I mean I really could not find a downside to trying it, and I have been reading really positive things about this treatment. I of course had concerns: Will it hurt? Will it make my hair fall out more? Will it hurt? Will it hurt? Will it hurt? I think the least of my concerns was that it would do nothing at all. I felt it was definitely worth trying, and that the payoff would potentially greatly improve the quality of my hair and decrease the shedding. At this point of my hair loss life, that is really my goal – just to keep what I have. Early on in my hair loss, probably for the first 5 years, I prayed constantly for ALL my hair to come back. Now I think I could be happy with the hair I have left, if I knew it was going to stick around for awhile.
So the PRP Journey begins. I flew to Tampa, Florida to have this done with Dr. Joseph Greco. The night before my treatment I went out and had a few drinks, not sure that is proper night-before-treatment protocol, but hey, I needed to relax!
The morning of the treatment I awoke quite early and simply couldn’t get back to sleep. I had PRP jitters. All my nerves really centered around “pain.” How MUCH pain would be involved?
I took a cab over to the doctor’s office and waved the driver goodbye, thinking… “wait come back!” I still was having my concerns about whether or not I could go through with it. I scan the office numbers on the glass window doors of the building complex and finally happen upon 113. I walk in and am welcomed by a bubbly blond hair receptionist, soon enough I’m filling out the patient forms. It isn’t long before the doctor walks out to greet me. We go into his office where he explains what will be happening, and also how PRP works. For all I know he was explaining the rise and fall of the roman empire. I must admit I felt a little bit like one of the students in Charlie Brown listening to the teacher, and all they can hear is “Wah wah wah wah.” I was too anxious to be in a learning mode. I expressed my concerns about PAIN and he reassures me that it really wouldn’t be bad at all. I still had my doubts. But, by that time I am fully committed to having this treatment done.
I am taken into the room where the treatment will be done and introduced to Dr. Greco’s assistant Valerie. Fist step of this process is to have my blood drawn. Now THAT I knew I could deal with. I’ve had my blood drawn a zillion times. No problemo. Valerie happens to be really good at it, and finds the vein the first try, no pain. I’ve had people draw my blood where they seem to use me as a pin cushion. But Valerie is no doubt a pro at this. The blood is drawn, and they then take it into another room where they then spin the heck out of it in a centrifuge to obtain the platelet rich plasma. I sit in the reclined dentist like chair, thinking about, you guessed it… Pain… is this going to hurt?
I’m not sure how long the spinning process took, perhaps 15 minutes. Now the numbing process begins. My head is numbed using small injections of lidocane around the perimeter of where the treatment will take place. I forgot to mention that while my hair loss is diffuse all over, the doctor only treated the top portion of my scalp because he stated that there is platelet migration downward. Okay by me, less needle pricks. After the numbing is done the doctor then rolls my scalp with a microneedle roller, this brings trauma to the area to help to facilitate and trigger the healing process. I did feel some of those needle pricks, but it wasn’t bad at all. And last came the Pièce de résistance, the injection of my own platelet rich plasma back into my head. These injections are audible to the person receiving them. It sounds… humm… weird, like an air pocket hole or something. Hard to explain. But, much to my delight there wasn’t any pain there either! Before I knew it I was getting my scalp massage and was done. Not bad at all. I came prepared with a soft hat to put on afterwards. My hair was resembling something of a drunken night involving some red punch or hair dye. So the hat came in handy for sure.
As time continued to pass, my head started feeling tight (probably swelling) and it also started burning. To me that was the most uncomfortable part of the process. It probably had the burning feeling for several hours, and then it subsided. The tenderness and tightness remained for the rest of that day. I awoke the following morning anxious to wash the stuff out of my head (you have to keep it on overnight). The blood gets hardened on your hair and it is a bit crunchy, it felt like I had OD’d on too much hair gel. The area was still slightly tender so I sat in the tub, filled it with water and dunked my head backwards into it to wash it clean. I didn’t feel like having the water pressure on my scalp, so I took my time repeating this process several times. Interesting how a shower just makes everything better. I felt pretty much back to normal after that. I had some tightness, but that was really it. After my hair dried it looked totally normal again. I had also been concerned that the rubbing, rolling and injection process would make *some* hair fall out right then and there, but it didn’t. It was just the same after the shower. Yippy!
Now it is just a waiting game. I am really glad I had the treatment done and I am optimistic and realistic about what benefits it may bring. All that I am really looking to achieve is to be able to maintain the hair I have today by reducing the shedding. The PRP treatment will hoping shift my hairs into an anagen phase to help that process along. The doctor stated that many women who have had this done had reported that their hair quality has improved, and that would be awesome as well because I feel over the years mine has gotten this lackluster look to it. I’d love to start seeing that elusive thing called “shine” back in my hair again.
I have to thank Dr. Joseph Greco and his staff for treating me so well. They were absolutely wonderful and made me feel completely at ease. He was compassionate and understanding of my concerns, a great doctor with a good sense of humor and kind personality. So thank you Dr. Greco and staff!
I know some of you will ask why I chose to fly to Tampa, Florida to have this treatment done when I might have been able to find someone closer to my home to do it. To me it was never an option to go anywhere else. Dr. Greco is the pioneer in using PRP therapy for hair loss and if I was going to get this done I wanted to make sure I went to the person who had the most experience and knowledge using this medical technology. I likely won’t know for 4 months whether or not this treatment has worked for me, but if it does I will be back in that chair at 6 months to maintain the benefits of it. I’d happily fly to Florida to get this treatment done twice or three times a year so that I can feel better about my hair and better about myself.
So happy waiting to me!
PRP Therapy Resources: