Platelet rich plasma (PRP), also termed autologous platelet gel, plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF), platelet concentrate (PC), is essentially an increased concentration of autologous platelets suspended in a small amount of plasma after centrifugation. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) and platelet rich in growth factors (PRGF) have been breakthroughs in the stimulation and acceleration of bone grafting consolidation and soft tissue healing. These techniques represent a relatively new biotechnology that is part of the current growing interest in tissue engineering and cellular therapy.
The blood has specially formed components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, out of which the platelets are also one of them. When the body undergoes trauma, injury or surgery, it begins the healing process by bombarding the site with platelets which normally form the clot. As the clot is formed at the surgical site, the platelets clump together as a consequence of multiple blood protein reactions which lead to the process known as coagulation. Platelets serve many purposes in the body, not the least of which is aiding in promoting wound healing and delivering “growth factors” to wound sites. Within the platelets, there are numerous growth factors, also known medically as cytokines, which are normal body proteins that promote, orchestrate and are capable of acting on specific healing cells to increase their numbers, stimulate vascular growth and decrease the amount of swelling and healing time. Therefore, the use of platelets and growth factors results in faster healing of the soft and hard tissues. These growth factors are essentially your body’s way of stimulating cell growth and healing itself. As the name suggests, PRP/PRGF is a high concentration of normal blood platelets with its enriched amount of growth factors.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) and platelet rich in growth factors (PRGF) is obtained by collecting the patient’s blood centrifuging it until it separates into three (3) layers: platelet poor plasma (PPP), PRP, and red blood cells. Usually two (2) spins are used. The first spin, or the “Hard spin,” separates the platelet poor plasma (PPP) from the red fraction and platelet rich plasma (PRP). The second spin, or “Soft spin,” separates the red fraction from the PRP. The material with the highest specific gravity (PRP/PRGF) will be deposited at the bottom of the tube and produces a platelet concentration of three (3) to five (5) times that of native plasma.
Immediately prior to application, a platelet activators (thrombin and calcium chloride) are added to activate the clotting cascade, producing a platelet gel which releases the factors and is then mixed along with the grafting material and/or placed in the wound to help stimulate cellular proliferation and tissue healing enhancement.
Benefits of PRP/PRGF
PRP/PRGF in bone grafting procedures is a cutting-edge step that is truly changing the face of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Here are a few of the many benefits of this remarkable autogenous substance:
Faster and More Predictable Bone Healing: Clearly, the biggest advantage of PRP/PRGF in bone grafting is quicker and more reliable healing. As growth factors flood the graft site, bone and tissue regeneration are dramatically increased.
Better Healing: Beyond a quicker healing, we often find that patients also experience better healing. It has been suggested that PRP/PRGF in bone graft patients results in significantly denser bone formation (consolidation) with less chance of developing infections by improving its vascularization.
Convenient: PRP/PRGF is made form the patient’s own blood drawn prior to the surgical procedure being done. Furthermore, it does not require an enormous sample of blood, nor does it require the patient to make a special trip to a blood collection center.
Easier Recovery: Often patients will also enjoy an easier, less painful recovery following their procedure. PRP/PRGF has been shown to reduce post-operative, bleeding, swelling, bruising and their associated pain.