Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy injections came highly recommended to me by my long time friend and hair specialist,Dr. Jodi LoGerfo and have been something that I’ve been planning on doing for some time. Although I was excited to finally be starting the process, I was also rather nervous. Cassidy, my editorial assistant, joined me to help document the appointment (and not to mention, having the company made me feel just a bit more at ease).
These documentation photos are something that the Orentreich Medical Group takes at the beginning of each appointment. These initial photos will act as our baseline and with each following appointment, we will be able to accurately track and understand the progress over time. Here you can see my initial photos being taken before undergoing any PRP treatments. I will now be attending these appointments every 4-6 weeks and the physicians will use these pictures to reflect on the expected improvement in 6-9 months time.
Dr. Jodi LoGerfo is both professionally and personally reassuring, making the patient feel as comfortable as possible. She clearly explains the procedure and what to expect. She explains there is a careful and meticulous process involved in using PRP for hair regrowth. First, there is a standard blood draw from the patient's arm. Next, the tubes of blood are put into a centrifuge, a machine which spins the blood tube to separate out the red blood cells from the plasma. The plasma is rich with lots of growth factors and platelets are then injected directly into the scalp at the level of the hair follicles. The process is carefully done with injections beginning across the scalp, approximately at every half inch over the area of thinning hair, taking about 5 minutes to completely inject.
CEO & Founder Gail Bruce, Dr. Jodi LoGerfo
One of the first ways they ensure the comfort of the patient is by applying a medically grade numbing cream to the surface area of the scalp. The cream is left to sit for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to optimize the effect and make sure the patient feels as little as possible. While you are sitting, maybe have something to read on hand!
Towards the end of the numbing process, the medical assistant will draw blood to be spun down. This spinning down of the blood is what separates the red and white blood cells away from the plasma. This allows the nurse to withdraw the platelet rich plasma to be re-injected at the follicular level which promotes the hair density and increased hair growth.
Nitrous Oxide is another step in the process to ensure that the patient feel calm and comfortable. I had hoped it would make me laugh but not quite.
After all preparations on the part of the patient have been made and the blood has been spun down, it's finally time to get the plasma isolated and in the syringe. Looking at the vial, it's fascinating to see how clear the separation is between blood cells and plasma. The plasma itself is yellow in color and is often called “liquid gold”.
The cold air and nitrous oxide are a constant while undergoing the injections. The injections themselves are uncomfortable, but bearable. Do keep in mind, multiple injections are made throughout the scalp with particular attention paid to areas of more prominent hair loss. This part of the appointment only takes about 2-3 minutes approximately.
Afterwards, there is a brief interim of getting the gas mask off, turning off equipment, and getting a bag of ice for the head to help with the pain. The needle sticks are not particularly painful, but afterwards your head feels “tight”. Once this is all settled, Dr.Jodi discusses what might happen in the hours following the appointment, expectations for the next few weeks, and arranges upcoming appointments. PRP injections are a commitment. Once you begin this process, you’ll only really see results and experience desired change through a treatment plan which can (as we mentioned before) take as long as 6-9 months. After this initial period, you can expect once or twice a year appointments to maintain the established growth.
In my experience, my head was tender for 1-2 days after the injections. As you can see in the photo, there was a bit of blood and residual product from numbing which mats the hair down.That being said -- if you have light colored hair, I would personally recommend bringing a hat or scarf for the trip home!