Platelet Rich Plasma

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can offer patients an opportunity to enhance their own healing process with Platelet Rich Plasma. With this new technology, the surgeon can concentrate a specific portion of a patients blood sample, which can be placed at a surgical site to accelerate the healing process. This blood is drawn from the patient just before the start of the surgical procedure.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is exactly what its name suggests. This substance is a by-product of blood (plasma) that is rich in a particular cell type called platelets. Until now, its use has been confined to the hospital setting. This was due mainly to the cost of separating the platelets from the blood (thousands) and the large amount of blood needed (one unit) to produce a suitable quantity of platelets.

Why All The Excitement About PRP?

PRP works by encouraging your own 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 formation of a blood clot and release of growth factors (GF) into the wound. These GF (such as 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 more stem cells 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 in animals and humans. 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, an oral 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, and closure of cleft lip
    and palate defects.
  • Repair of bone defects created by removal of teeth or small cysts.
  • Repair of fistulas between the sinus cavity and mouth

PRP Also Has Many Advantages:

  • Safety: PRP is a by-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 addition of PRP to the wound enhances the release of growth factors, thus producing an increase of tissue synthesis and thus faster tissue regeneration.
  • Cost effectiveness: Since PRP harvesting is done with only 20 or 60 cc of blood in the doctors office, the patient need not incur the expense of the harvesting procedure in hospital or at the blood bank.
  • Ease of use: PRP is easy for the surgical team to produce and handle.

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 the IV. This blood is then placed in the PRP centrifuge machine and spun down. In less than fifteen 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 many cases, application of PRP to the graft will increase the rate of healing and create a better quality graft.

Will My Insurance Cover The Costs?

No, the cost of the PRP application (approximately $400- $700) 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 an appropriate bone substitute material.

Are There Any Contraindications To PRP?

There are 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.