Harnessing Our Healing & Regenerative Powers
By Sue Cullen | Photos by Nancy Guth
Dawning on the horizon of medical advancements are therapies with potent healing potential whose benefits have the power to span disciplines ad diverse as hair restoration and orthopedics. These therapies harness the power and versatility of the human body to regenerate damaged skin tissue, accelerate healing, reactivate hair follicles, heal wounds, and alleviate pain.
Working at the leading edge of these advancements is Joseph Greco, PhD, PA/C of Greco Medical Group in Sarasota (1990 Main Street, Sarasota; 941.952.3300; www.grecohairrestoration.com and www.jointpainUSA.com). “This is a regenerative medicine practice. We use patients’ own cells for various regenerative purposes including hair, cosmetics, pain and orthopedics,” says Dr. Joe, who is recognized internationally for pioneering natural hair restoration techniques and nonsurgical hair rejuvenation. “The treatments we use are the safest and most adaptable that we have today. They harness our own immune systems, and we are getting amazing results in many areas.”
Greco Medical Group has helped a wide range of patients using patented proprietary technology over the past eight years that concentrates healing factors in a patient’s blood in a very purified form. “We see great results in many areas of joint regeneration, such as arthritis, chronic pain and sports injuries, but probably the most dramatic happen in the knee. We have even helped people who were scheduled for knee replacement,” says Dr. Greco, who is board certified in internal medicine and clinical lipidology. “One New York City firefighter had six surgeries and didn’t want another despite the fact that he was in agony because his knee had degenerated to bone on bone. We treated him with a series of injections and, five years later, he is still pain free.” Although Greco Medical Group was able to treat such an advanced case successfully, he encourages people to receive treatments in the early stages and perhaps postpone the need for surgery indefinitely.
Dr. Greco also was able to help former NFL Coach Jeremy Bates. Damage from sports injuries had taken its toll on Bates’ knees. He suffered cartilage damage and had earlier bilateral ACL replacements. The pain was slowing him down. Dr. Greco treated him and two weeks later, he was snow-boarding pain-free. A few months later, Bates hiked the 2,900 mile Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada, walking 20 to 30 miles daily with a backpack weighing more than 40 pounds. Among many other success stories from Greco Medical Group, Cytokine Rich Plasma (CPR) therapy totally healed a man’s severely burned hand in 48 days with no tendon contracture, leaving him with little scarring and full mobility of his hand and fingers. In another case, only three treatments healed a wound that wouldn’t close following a cancer surgery even after skin grafts had failed, saving a vital 90 year old from an amputation.
The difference in Greco Medical Group’s treatments rests both in the proprietary technology and also in their experience of knowing exactly where to place the injections. The process works by stimulating the body’s natural repair mechanisms. Use of the individual’s own cells in platelet rich plasma (PRP) for wound healing has been recognized as an effective therapy for 20 years. However, they use an advanced, proprietary form of PRP called Cytokine Rich Plasma (CPR) that stimulates the immune system to promote healing, is more purified and eliminates more blood cells, which can cause inflammation. This technology also concentrates IRAP and A2M, a recently discovered blood protein that fights cartilage degeneration and reduces inflammation. Only about 1 percent of regenerative medicine doctors using PRP are doing this.
“If you get a cut and are bleeding, the body realizes it and goes into a cascade reaction. Cells stick together and the blood clots, a scab forms, stem cells are triggered and skin regenerates. We isolate and concentrate cytokines, those messengers in the blood that tell other cells what to do,” says Dr. Greco, who left a successful internal medicine/general practice in Philadelphia after 25 years to specialize in regenerative medicine and pain management. “Sometimes I compare PRP to pasta. There are many different kinds, and not everyone makes it well, so it can be like comparing apples and oranges. Others are using 20-year-old-technology, and we are way beyond that. Right now, it is kind of a Wild West out there with all the new treatments. We stay within the FDA guidelines because we always want to practice good medicine.
The dedication to the profession and to patients has been instilled over a lifetime. Their father, Dr. Joseph F. Greco, was a general practitioner and a pioneer in hair transplantation, founding Greco Hair Surgery in 1966. Dr. Joe’s son, Dr. Joeseph Greco III, is a MOHS (Dermatologic) surgeon at UCLA who also does hair transplantation. They are the only three-generation family in the world doing hair transplantation. ” We want to treat people by doing it the right way. That’s why we have done the research grant studies, and we also teach physicians from around the world,” Dr. Joe says. “We have trained physicians form 18 countries, so we didn’t take the weekend course, we teach the weekend course. There is an art and science to how we use cells to treat different conditions, and that takes experience. People have come to us from all 50 states and 70 countries for treatment.”
Dr. Joe is recognized internationally for his hair restoration methodologies, has authored many journal articles, textbook chapters, lectured internationally, and has developed surgical instruments and non-surgical biological hair regeneration therapies in use worldwide. His work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Men’s journal, and USA Today and he is on the faculty at George Washington University/ He has pioneered biologic treatments for Alopecia Areata and Androgenic Alopecia and these results were included in an international study published in the prestigious American Journal of Dermatologic Surgery Infusing patients’ scalps with the highly concentrated proteins, vital structures responsible for hair growth can be stimulate, providing a healthy environment for hair to grow, reducing shedding and thickening the hair shaft. This is particularly good for younger patients because it does not expose them to potential side effects from medication.
A decade ago, 70 percent of the patients were men wanting hair transplantation, but Dr. Joe says today 60 percent are women seeking non-surgical hair restoration techniques that have demonstrated results. Even though this therapy is not appropriate for totally bald areas, that is coming, too, he says. Dr. Joe utilizes automated technology for removing individual hair follicles, leaving an undetectable donor site, with an infusion of highly concentrated growth and healing factors from the patient’s own blood, which speeds healing and promotes hair growth. “We don’t look at hair transplantation and restoration as simply cosmetic, we understand that it can be devastating physiologically,” We specialize in restoring hair in burns, scars, and traumatic hair loss conditions.
The Grecos consider Greco Medical Group a boutique practice and like to spend about an hour with each patient. “We are family, so we try to treat everybody in the office like family.” Most of their business comes from word of mouth from other patients who are eager to tell their success stories. “Our bodies are so amazing, why look somewhere else for the answer?” Dr. Greco asks. “We love it. I’ve never enjoyed medicine as much as I do now.”
The best way to evaluate a patient is to arrange a personal, in-depth consultation. However, this is impossible for many patients who fly in from other parts of the country or world. For this reason we have developed the remote consultation package, which is an acceptable alternative to the in-person personal consult.
Once your photos and questionnaire are reviewed, we will telephone you to discuss your questions or concerns regarding the procedure. You will also be given a suggested treatment plan and the costs involved. Click here for more complete information on our free on-line hair restoration consultation process.