Healthcare recently is in the middle of a paradigm shift by using the known components of our internal healing and immune processes to assist with certain diseases, cancers, or healing. Examples of this are using harvested stem cells to grow tissue (skin, bone, etc), recovering blood loss during large surgery and injecting it back to our own body, augmenting our own immune system to fight off cancerous cells or inflammatory diseases, and concentrating proteins or growth factors present in our blood to improve or quicken the healing process.
Our office is nonetheless utilizing this cutting edge medical approach for our patients! The concept is that within our blood there are growth factors, healing proteins, cell signals, and immune cells which are part of the normal healing process that can be concentrated and applied or injected to a wound or surgical site to potentially enhance healing. It was initially introduced into medicine in the 1970s but did not become applied and main stream until the late 1980s – 1990s. The most common blood concentrate being “PRP” or platelet-rich plasma. It is vastly used in orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, plastic/reconstructive surgery, and sports medicine.
The key component in the blood is our platelets which are commonly known for stopping bleeding on wounds. We are only on the tip of the iceberg with understanding their true potential but many growth factors have been identified on platelets which are involved in the wound healing process. We can now extract and concentrate these cells and growth factors to our advantage.
Recently a simpler and more cost-effective method called “PRF” or platelet rich fibrin has been available and studied. It as simple as a common blood draw which we can perform in the office, prepare the blood, and concentrate it under a strict protocol to extract the PRF growth factors we naturally all have in our blood. We use this method in our office for various applications:
- Improve healing time after extractions (including wisdom teeth/third molars)
- Enhance bone healing in preparation for implant placement
- Boost soft tissue or gum healing around teeth or implants
- Use as sinus augmentation (sinus lift) material
- Inject into the TMJ to help with some certain of TMD