Platelet Rich Plasma
During the healing process, many cells and cell-types are sent to the wound in order to initiate the healing process. One of those cell types is platelets. Platelets perform many functions, including formation of a blood clot and release of growth factors into the wound. These growth factors function to assist the body in repairing itself by stimulating stem cells to regenerate new tissue. The more growth factors that are released into the wound, the more stem cells are stimulated to produce new host tissue. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a by-product of blood (plasma) that is rich in platelets. Using a centrifuge blood drawn from the patient can be separated to obtain PRP. By using PRP the body takes advantage of the normal healing pathways to heal faster and more efficiently.
A subfamily of one of the plasma growth factors, is bone morphogenetic protein (BMP). BMP has been shown to induce the formation of new bone in research studies in animals and humans. This is of great significance to the placement of bone grafts or dental implants. By adding PRP, BMP can be delivered to the surgical site.
PRP Has Many Clinical Applications
PRP can be used for bone grafting sinus lift procedures, ridge augmentation, closure of cleft lip and palate defects and to improve the healing of soft tissue wounds.
Advantages of PRP
The patient’s own blood is used to obtain PRP. Therefore, disease transmission is not an issue with the use of PRP. PRP can be generated in the doctor’s office while the patient is undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure, such as placement of dental implants. The supersaturation of the wound with PRP, and thus growth factors, produces an increase of tissue synthesis and thus faster tissue regeneration. PRP is easy to handle and actually improves the ease of application of bone substitute materials and bone grafting products by making them more gel-like.
Disadvantages of PRP
PRP can not be used alone to stimulate bone formation. PRP must be mixed with either the patient’s own bone, a bone substitute material such as demineralized freeze-dried bone, or another bone graft product. Patients with bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this in-office procedure. Lastly, Insurance usually does not cover the cost of PRP.