Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is exactly what the name suggests. The PRP is obtained from the patient’s own blood (plasma) that is rich in platelets. Until 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 to produce a suitable quantity of platelets. Newer technology allows the doctor to harvest and produce a sufficient quantity of platelets from only a very minimal amount (50 cc) of blood drawn from the patient just prior to the surgery.
What is PRP Used For?
PRP is used in conjunction with bone grafts. It promotes healing and consolidation of the graft. It also decreases the inflammation associated with the procedure, and allows faster healing with less swelling.
How does PRP Work?
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 formation of a blood clot and release of growth factors into the wound. These growth factors assist the body in repairing itself by stimulating stem cells to come to the area to help regenerate new tissue. The more growth factors released, the more stem cells are stimulated to produce new host tissue. PRP greatly accelerates the body’s natural ability to heal faster and more efficiently.
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 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 larger grafting cases, application of PRP to the graft will speed the consolidation of the bone graft 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 (approximately $450) 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, or a bone substitute material.
Are there any contraindications to PRP?
Very few. Obviously, patients with bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this in-office procedure.