Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is exactly what the name suggests. The substance is a by-product of blood (plasma) that is rich in platelets. Until recently, its use has been confined to the hospital setting. This was due to the cost of separating the platelets from the blood and the large amount of blood needed to produce a suitable quantity of platelets. New technology permits the doctor to harvest a sufficient quantity of platelets from only 20-55 cc of blood drawn from the patient at the time of surgery.
Why All The Excitement About PRP?
PRP permits the body to take advantage of the normal healing pathways at a greatly accelerated rate. During the healing process, the body rushes many cell-types 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 (GF) into the wound. These GF (platelet derived growth factors PGDF, transforming growth factor beta TGF, and insulin-like growth factor ILGF) function to assist the body in repairing itself by stimulating stem cells to regenerate new tissue. The more growth factors released into the wound, the faster the body tissues are stimulated to heal.
A subfamily of TGF, is bone morphogenetic protein (BMP). BMP has been shown to induce the formation of new bone. This is of great significance to the surgeon who places dental implants. By adding PRP, and thus BMP, to the implant site with bone, the implant surgeon can now grow bone more predictably and faster than ever before.
PRP Has Many Clinical Applications
Bone grafting for dental implants. This includes onlay and inlay grafts, sinus lift procedures, ridge augmentation procedures, repair of bone defects from removal of teeth or cysts, and repair of fistulas between the sinus cavity and mouth.
PRP Has Many Advantages
Safety: PRP is a product of the patients own blood, therefore disease transmission is not an issue.
Convenience: PRP can be generated in the doctors office while the patient is undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure, such as placement of dental implants.
Faster healing: The supersaturation of the wound with PRP, and thus growth factors, produces an increase of tissue synthesis and thus faster tissue regeneration.
Cost effectiveness: Since PRP harvesting is done with only 20-50 cc of blood in the oral surgeons office, the patient need not incur the expense of the harvesting procedure in a hospital or at the blood bank.
Ease of use: PRP improves the ease of application of bone substitute materials and bone grafting products by making them more gel-like and stable.
Frequently Asked Questions About PRP
Is PRP safe?
Yes. During the outpatient surgical procedure a small amount of your own blood is drawn from the IV. This blood is then placed in the PRP centrifuge machine and spun down. In less than 15 minutes, the PRP is formed and ready to use.
Should PRP be used in all bone-grafting cases?
Not always. In some cases, there is no need for PRP. However, in the majority of cases, application of PRP to the graft will increase the final amount of bone present in addition to making the wound heal faster with less pain and swelling.
Will my insurance cover the costs?
Unfortunately not. The cost of the PRP application is paid by the patient.
Can PRP be used alone to stimulate bone formation?
No. PRP must be mixed with either the patients own bone or mineralized freeze dried bone.
Are there any contraindications to PRP?
Very few. Obviously, patients with bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this in-office procedure. Check with your surgeon and/or primary care physician to determine if PRP is right for you.