PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, consists of a patient’s own blood that has been centrifuged to produce a dense concen¬tration of platelets. These platelets contain a complex array of growth factors—the same ones that are naturally activated by the body's wound-healing response following an injury. When applied during surgery such as a bone-grafting procedure, the highly concentrated wound-healing molecules contained in PRP respond to the biologic signals secreted by the tissues at the surgical site, leading to a physiological cascade of wound healing and tissue regeneration—all using nothing but the patient's own plasma.
The benefits of PRP first gained widespread recognition in 2010, when Tiger Woods publicized its role in the healing of his torn ACL. That endorsement helped catapult PRP therapy into the $40-billion-per-year industry that it is today.
But dentistry had recognized the wound-healing benefits of PRP more than a decade earlier, shortly after it was discovered by two of its own—Drs Arun Garg and Robert Marx. In the mid-1990s, at a major teaching hospital, these two oral surgeons had been looking for a way to help their oral cancer patients heal and recover more quickly from major reconstructive surgery. Like most great discoveries, this one was the product of deep scientific knowledge combined with extensive clinical experience—and perhaps a dash of luck.
In the last two decades, Garg and Marx's original discovery has evolved into an entirely new field of biological/regenerative therapies that have received widespread adoption across virtually every branch of medicine. Today, PRP and its derivatives are used by cardiothoracic and orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, neurosurgeons, dermatologists, podiatrists, sports medicine/pain specialists, veterinarians, estheticians—and of course dentists— to improve outcomes in their daily practices.
A win-win for doctors and patients alike, PRP can dramatically expand your practice's revenue potential. For doctors with proper training, PRP is relatively simple to produce and easy to incorporate into the established flow of their practice. For patients, the idea of harnessing the healing power of their own platelets is highly appealing. And because PRP is made from their own blood, they feel much less anxious regarding the overall procedure. Reduced anxiety means a more compliant patient, fewer postoperative complications, and an improved likelihood of success.
Many doctors become motivated to seek PRP training based on patient demand. Several well-known professional athletes have publicly praised the accelerated healing benefits of PRP therapy following their recovery from an injury that required surgical repair. In addition, more and more medical spas today use PRP as a dermal filler, so some patients have already experienced its regenerative power first-hand.
PRP and other forms of tissue engineering are part of the promising field of regenerative medicine. This field is still in its infancy, but the potential of these therapies is enormous. Clinicians who recognize and learn how to harness the benefits of PRP early on will gain a strong competitive advantage both today and in the future.
In the last two decades PRP treatment has evolved from limited use in select dental and non-dental surgeries, to become one of the most exciting facets of modern medicine. As an all-natural biologic isolate – made from a person’s own blood – PRP has been repeatedly demonstrated to enhance healing, reduce healing times for dental surgeries and do so while eliminating the risk of bodily rejection.
Fashioned into healing membranes or used as an injectable for facial cosmetics, PRP is today a multi-billion dollar industry.
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