PRP Therapy

My PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy Experience

by admin on November 12, 2009

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. [click to continue…]

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So the hot buzz on the hair loss street is that there seems to be great potential in treating hair loss with a new treatment being offered called PRP therapy. Well PRP therapy itself isn’t new, but the usage in treating hair loss is.

So what is PRP therapy anyways? If you are like me, you probably thought it sounded like the latest hot stone massage technique being offered at the spa. “I’ll have the mani/pedi and the PRP Therapy.” :) Well not quite.

So If That Isn’t It, What The Heck is PRP Therapy?

PRP stands for “Platelet Rich Plasma,” and it has been used by hospitals and during various surgical applications since the 1970s. In more recent times it has been used in sports medicine and orthopedics to assist and accelerate the recovery from injury.

How Does It Do That?

When concentrated platelets of a person’s blood, which contain proteins and other particles are injected into the injury site, it helps to trigger the body’s ability to grow new soft tissue or bone cells to repair muscle.

Ok, Great, So How Is That Gonna Help My Hair Loss?

According to North Carolina hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Jerry Cooley “PRP involves the application/injection of plasma that has about 5X the amount of platelets as in circulating blood. The platelets secrete numerous growth factors, including PDGF and VEGF, both of which have been shown to have positive effects on hair growth. So it is reasonable to think that PRP would not only help wound healing but also hair growth.”

While several doctors are beginning to treat their hair loss patients with this new treatment, the credit goes to Florida doctor, Jospeh Greco Ph.D as being the first to use PRP therapy in the treatment of hair loss in an attempt to reverse the effects of thinning hair.

What Is PDGF and VEGF?

PDGF stands for “Platelet Derived Growth Factor”  PDGF is one of the numerous growth factors, or proteins that regulate cell growth and division. In particular, it plays a significant role in blood vessel formation (angiogenesis), the growth of blood vessels from already existing blood vessel tissue.

VEGF stands for “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor.” VEGF is a chemical signal produced by cells that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. It is part of the system that restores the oxygen supply to tissues when blood circulation is inadequate. [click to continue…]

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