PRP Therapy

Body Heal Thyself – Lina and PRP

by Lina on March 2, 2015

Lina PRP - Dr. Joseph Greco Longtime WHLP member, Lina, shares her experience having PRP with Dr. Joseph Greco in Sarasota, Florida.

I thought I was at a place of “acceptance”, or as I like to rephrase it, “realization” as I’m not sure if I will ever completely accept my hair loss. I’m a full-time wig wearer. I threw out all my snake oil and promise pills, my 25+ years dealing with hair loss and the ups and down down downs it brings has exhaustipated me.

I’m at a point where I am done with pills and chemicals, Lord knows what kind of lethal cocktail I was ingesting with everything I was putting into my body. Well after reading about PRP on-site I decided this is the one thing I have not tried and decided to look into it further. The premise of using what is in our own body to help heal is very appealing to me, not to mention the NO side effects. I decided I needed to try this treatment. I do realize that with anything else, probably the sooner one seeks treatment the better. That being said a lot of loss and damage has been realized to my hair and scalp as my condition has been going on for years. As much as I am looking for a miracle, I need to have realistic expectations about what PRP can do for me.

For any of you who are curious I decided I would take you along my PRP journey, visit by visit (I will explain why I already decided I would have more than one treatment). I will post pictures along the way – I feel it is my “duty” to put aside my embarrassment and help my sister’s here who have suffered like I have.

Please note: I will be as brief as possible, I am not a doctor, I will probably screw up on terms but I just want to give you a gist of the whole experience.

Treatment #1 – February 17, 2015.  Performed by Dr. Joseph Greco in Sarasota Florida.

All this gorgeous hair is my wig... I de-wigged once in my consult with Dr. Greco.

All this hair is my wig… I de-wigged once in my consult with Dr. Greco.

I met Dr. Greco and his staff. They were so pleasant, reassuring and very professional – I was instantly at ease, although nervous. I went into a medical room where blood was drawn from me, so 5 minutes. Then my blood was taken to the lab where they put it in a centrifuge (I believe that means spin the crap out of it?) This takes like 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, Dr. Greco took me into his office and we discussed my hair loss history and he walked me through the amazing world of PRP.

He showed me research, before and after photos, explained the separation of blood and its components and explained matrixes – not only in treating hair loss but for joint injuries and even burn injuries. To say I was fascinated is a complete understatement – I never knew science was so amazing, nor how healing what is in our body can be, I could of listened to him for hours.

What I took away from this was it could not hurt in the least to have the goodness and proteins of my blood injected into my scalp. Dr. Greco asked me what my objectives were, you girls have seen my shaved head photos, I don’t think it is very realistic to expect I’m going to grow me some Rapunzel hair (darn). I said, I would like to keep what I have and hopefully have the texture improve and perhaps have some fill-in so that I could maintain a very short hair cut under my wig and not have to shave. He told me he thought my goals were very realistic. [click to continue…]

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PRP – Is It My Miracle?

by BW on October 28, 2014

**This post is from a fellow WHLP Member, “BW.” **

As many of you may know from the last blog I posted, I had been experiencing a Hell Shed. This was far beyond my usual seasonal nerve-wracking and it sucks but it’s manageable thing. This was my body went through a major physiological change (quitting smoking was my trigger this time) and here comes the Hair Dump. I went from having my pretty awesomely normal (short) hair in early June to quitting smoking on June 16 to start a crazy messed up put me back in my little black hidey hole ka-boom see ya hair thing by about a week later and I just couldn’t get it to stop. Like holy cow. Hair explosion for months and no end in sight. Sigh….. And yeah, I wear a wig most of the time anyway, but I don’t go to the gym in my wig. I really wasn’t planning on wearing a wig for my half marathon in November and honestly, it had gotten so bad that not only was I getting seriously depressed about it. I was also using Toppik at my front hairline just to be able to blend with my wig AND I had lost enough hair that my wigs weren’t even fitting well anymore. Oh my.

Yes, ladies, I had the Ultimate What You Don’t Want to Happen When You Are Wearing a Wig Experience. My wigs had gotten loose since I had lost SO much hair and I guess I hadn’t thought too much about it because once you get used to wearing hair, you just are way more relaxed about (maybe too relaxed in my case) and when I was shaking my thang all over the dance floor on a beautiful Saturday night in August, my hair fell off. Like on the dance floor. Like under someone’s feet. Yeah. WAKE UP CALL! I had lost so much hair that my wigs weren’t even fitting anymore. Remember that hidey hole I was talking about? Step right in.

I really started feeling stuck. I had begin hitting the Toppik bottle again (hard) while wearing my wigs and also while just going to the gym and stuff, and man, that stuff is truly amazing but I even needed it in the front for blending in my now strapped as tight as possible wigs. That just seems no bueno – now I need Toppik to even wear my wigs? Big sigh….. And as all hair wearers know, you gotta always have a back up plan. Or a forward thought. And I couldn’t find one. Where am I gonna go from here? What if I couldn’t make my current situation work anymore? [click to continue…]

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Getting Off The Birth Control Pill After 13 Years - My  Biggest and Hardest Hair Loss DecisionI’m sitting awake in my hotel room in Florida. My mind flooded with thoughts and my fiancé snoring soundly beside me. I had no chance of sleep I tell ya… no chance.

As usual, Florida time means PRP time. I did have my 8th PRP therapy treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco yesterday afternoon. At first glance all seems the same, snoring fiancé, PRP, Florida, hangover…. but it’s not. About a month or so ago I made a very hard personal decision for myself, and  just to bring you up to emotional speed on this one, just starting to type the word “decision” started the tears rolling down face, because it’s a decision wrought with so many emotions and so much pain.

My hair loss started in 1999 (I was 21 years old) after the cessation of the pill Loestrin FE, dumb luck struck and that one act caused the following years of misery, sadness and self loathing as I tried to cope with losing my hair. I was so incredibly alone when this happened, I was desperate, beyond desperate and I was willing to try and do anything I could to just get the shedding to stop and hopefully get my hair to grow back, so I made a choice I have regretted ever since. At the suggestion of a physician I got back on the birth control pill. While the pill can be the cause of hair loss, doctors also use it to try and stabilize the hormones to treat it. I didn’t want to, I was so scared, but I did. Many times I’ve wished I was stronger and just said no. No to the doctor and no to myself. I knew what the pill did to me the first time, why get back on something I would forever be a slave to? Good question. Answer: Desperation and lack of foresight.

Getting back on the pill essentially meant never being able to get off it. The amount of shedding that occurred when I got off the pill the first time was INSANE, I’m talking about waking up to fist fulls of hair on my pillow. I had a ton of hair back then and while no one wants to loose their hair, looking back I had hair to spare. I have none to spare today I can assure you. Knowing this, I started to feel very trapped on the pill, how could I ever get off again? I was stuck on a medication I had so much animosity towards and worse my hair continued to decline so I had no way of knowing if it ever helped in the first place, and since we all know we just love to poke ourselves in the eye with our torture sticks, I’d constantly remind myself that I never really allowed my body the chance to heal on its own, to stabilize it’s own hormones without the use of any medication. Maybe in a few years time all would have resumed to normal, or maybe not, but I’ll never know. [click to continue…]

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Hello Everyone!

Recently I ventured back to Florida to have another PRP (platelet rich plasma) hair loss treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco. I went back at the 4 month mark, which is before the time usually recommended to patients. I did so because I was quite pleased with the results I saw, and I wanted to make sure I kept my hair in that happy state it seems to be in. After 10 years of hair loss, when you find something that helps, you pretty much jump all over it… or at least I do.

So round two begins….ding ding.

I arrived at the hotel the day before my appointment, ready, excited and pumped with anticipation to have this treatment done again. I had a lot less apprehension because I pretty much knew what to except. As some of you will recall, a big point of anxiety for me during the last trip, was exactly how much pain was involved in this process. Well thankfully that anxiety didn’t exist because I had already experienced the process and knew it was not that big a deal.

I slept like a baby, no nerves whatsoever, part of that may be attributed to the wine I drank that evening. Gotta love wine! I awoke the following morning and stepped outside on the balcony with my cup of coffee and was just in awe of how beautiful it was. It was an incredibly gorgeous day so I just soaked it all in.

An hour before I was to depart, I dialed the front desk to ask for a cab to pick me up. Before I knew it I was being whisked away by some crazy driver who seriously needs to re-evaluate her profession. I’ve never in my life had a cab ride quite like that before. I found myself bracing at every turn and frantically clutching on to the seat for dear life. And to make matters worse, she didn’t take credit cards! Every cab pretty much takes credit cards nowadays, but her machine was getting serviced (uh huh). So now I had to rummage through my purse (something resembling a black hole) to pull out dollars and quarters. Shockingly I had the cash. Yay for spare change!

I walk into the office and am warmly greeted by the receptionist. I re-sign some forms and take my place in the waiting room chair. Not much waiting time before Dr. Greco appears and welcomes me back. I say my hellos to Val, his awesome assistant, and shortly after I’m in the chair getting my blood drawn. Like I mentioned in my first post, Val is a pro at drawing blood and there was no real discomfort there at all. [click to continue…]

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It’s been 3 months today since I received my PRP hair loss treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco last November 2009. I have been meaning to write my PRP update for quite sometime, but I wanted to wait until I was sure of what I felt my results (if any) actually were.

So rather than keep you in total suspense, I’ll start with a few self-imposed questions.

Do I think PRP Therapy has helped my hair loss? Yes
Do I think PRP Therapy has reduced my shedding? Yes
Do I think PRP Therapy has been the best thing for my hair since this entire mess started? Most Definitely
Has it done anything else? Yes, it has improved the quality and color of my hair
Will I do this again? You betcha, I’ll be on a plane within the next month for another treatment

Now with that out of the way, let me start by saying that ever since I had this done last November I have just felt better about my hair loss in general. Nothing works instantly, I know that,  but my mind was for the first time in a long time, optimistic that something positive could happen. So I essentially started to feel good right from the start, way before being able to actually tell if the PRP treatment did anything at all.  At times I have wondered whether or not my favorable results were a bit of a placebo effect, you know, all of a sudden thinking my hair is going to get better and tah dah it does. Whatever it is, my results are real, tangible and visible.

I noticed fairly quickly after receiving the treatment that my shedding reduced DRAMATICALLY, and since then it has gone up and down, but far less than before having the treatment done. My hair also just started to FEEL better and LOOK better. It seemed like some vibrance and pigmentation returned to my hair as well. After living with hair loss for 10 years, the color of my hair had faded as the miniaturization progressed. All I can say is “Hello color, I missed you! ”

Up until this morning I knew the following things, 1) my shedding decreased 2) the color improved and 3) my hair quality improved. Then this morning I scheduled a haircut with a woman who has been cutting my hair since 2005. I sat in the chair, she clipped on the apron, spritzed my hair with the water bottle and started to part the hair down the middle. Then she just looked closely at my head, then a little closer, as she leaned in she appeared to be slightly confused. With that final lean towards my head she said the most wonderful words, “You Look like You Have More Hair.” What? Let me say it again for all you ladies, in case you missed it, “YOU LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE MORE HAIR.” Hot diggity dog, do my ears deceive me? Nope. She told me my hair looks thicker, and that I have tons of little baby hairs growing in all over the place. Well praise the lord and raise the roof, I have a happy dance to do.

I had to laugh because before she came over (I have my haircut at my house) my fiance said, “I bet you she is going to tell you that your hair looks thicker.” Ha! I’ll gladly take the “I told you so” on this one. He’s been telling me for over a month that he really thinks that the PRP has helped my hair loss. I felt it, I knew it, but I didn’t want to jump the gun in writing my update prematurely.

I feel confident in sharing my results now, and I hope it helps to give other women hope. I will continue to keep everyone updated as I go through more treatments.

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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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