Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is exactly what the name suggests. Until fairly recently, its use has been confined to the hospital setting. This was due mainly to the cost of separating the platelets from the blood, and the large amount of blood needed (one unit) to produce a suitable quantity of platelets.
New technology permits the doctor to harvest and produce a sufficient quantity of platelets from only 55 cc of blood drawn from the patient while they are in our office.
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 cells and cell-types to the wound in order to initiate the healing process. One of those cell types is platelets.
Platelets perform many functions, including the formation of a blood clot and the release of growth factors (GF) into the wound. These GFs 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 more stem cells are stimulated to produce new host tissue. Thus, one can easily see that PRP permits the body to heal faster and more efficiently.
A subfamily of TGF is bone morphogenic protein (BMP). BMP has been shown to induce the formation of new bone in research studies. This is of great significance to the surgeon who places dental implants. By adding PRP, and thus BMP, to the implant site with bone substitute particles, the implant surgeon can grow bone more predictably and faster than ever before.
PRP Has Many Clinical Applications
PRP is used routinely by Doctors Nail and Dombrowski in bone grafting for dental implants. This includes grafts of solid blocks of bone, sinus floor graft procedures, tooth socket grafts, ridge augmentation procedures, closure of cleft palate defects, and repair of bone defects created by the removal of teeth or cysts. It can also be used to repair of fistulas (openings) between the sinus cavity and the mouth as well.
PRP Also Has Many Advantages
Safety: PRP is a by-product of the patient’s own blood, therefore, disease transmission is not an issue.
Convenience: PRP can be generated in the doctor’s 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 55 cc (less than 4 tablespoons) of blood in the doctor’s office, the patient does not need to incur the expense of the harvesting procedure in a hospital or at a blood bank.
Ease of use: PRP is easy to handle and actually facilitates the application of bone substitute materials and bone grafting products by making them more gel-like.
Frequently Asked Questions About PRP
Is PRP safe? Yes. During the outpatient surgical procedure, a small amount of your own blood is drawn out via an 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 and more efficiently.
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 patient’s own bone, a bone substitute material such as demineralized freeze-dried bone, or a synthetic bone product such as Bio-Oss.
Are there any possible side-effects 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.