Platelet Rich Plasma (or PRP) is a type of plasma rich protein that is derived by fractioning blood into its components. PRP is used primarily in bone and soft tissue regeneration. It is a technique that uses a small amount of the patients own blood to isolate crucial proteins that stimulate healing, foster new bone growth, and repair soft tissue in surgical sites. And, because PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood and tissue, the process is very safe with little risk of disease transmission or rejection from the donor.
PRP is considered a breakthrough in bone and soft tissue regeneration because it permits the body to take advantage of the normal healing pathways at a greatly accelerated rate. When the body is wounded and needs to heal, many different cells and cell-types are rushed to the site of the injury. These cells initiate the healing process by forming blood clots and releasing growth factors into the wound. The more growth factors that are introduced to the wound, the quicker and more efficiently the body is able to heal.
By introducing PRP to the surgical area, the body is able to take advantage of a large amount of growth factors without the blood cells. This allows for accelerated healing but without the immune system response of swelling and inflammation. PRP also has been shown to increase the formation of new bone. By adding PRP to the surgical site, the doctor can now grow bone more predictably and faster than ever before. This is of great significance when placing dental implants.
Yes! A very small amount of your own blood is drawn via IV during the outpatient procedure. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge and spun down. This helps separate the PRP from the other contents of your blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, etc.). The entire process takes only 40 minutes!
Because each patient’s needs are different, PRP can not be used in all cases. There are situations in which PRP is not necessary, for example if there is no infection, if the surgical site was small, or if there are no plans to add an implant in the extraction site. However, for a vast majority of cases, PRP can greatly benefit the patient by making the would heal faster and more efficiently. In fact, it is especially helpful for those with decreased healing response (ie: diabetics, smokers, the elderly, or those with immune disorders).
Unfortunately, PRP is not usually covered by insurance providers. The cost of PRP application is usually paid by the patient. However, since PRP often stimulates bone growth without bone grafting the cost is more often than not offset by the savings from not having a bone grafting procedure.
There are a few contraindications to PRP. Those with bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this in-office procedure because it can be difficult to control bleeding in a non-hospital setting. It is best to discuss your treatment options with your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for PRP.