Grafting with Platelets
Platelets are normal circulation cells in the blood. We hear about the bad things they do, clot in unwanted places like the brain (stroke) and coronary arteries (heart attack). They are one of three mechanisms that keep us from bleeding to death when the circulatory system is disrupted.
The other good thing they do is carry growth and healing factors. These can be concentrated and used as grafting material in surgery procedures to enhance healing.
The first generation of this is called PRP, platelet rich plasma. Chemicals are added to your own blood that is spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets. This is then used as a grafting material that primarily increases soft tissue healing.
Another form of is called L-PRF, leukocyte platelet rich fibrin. This is the latest generation of tissue enhancement using the patient’s own blood. A different type of centrifuge is use to coagulate platelets and leukocytes (white blood cells, the good guys and defenders against bacteria) together in a pliable, solid mass. It requires no additional chemical additives. It can be used as a membrane to help close the gums, container for particles of bone graft material (rolled up like a burrito), or plug in an extraction socket.
L-PRF membranes are being used more and more in many soft tissue surgical procedures, such as plastic surgery and invasive cardiology. It is simple, relatively inexpensive, and beneficial to healing. This is the part of the science of tissue. It is exciting, new technology to enhance healing that will be used more and more in oral surgery.