PRGF is an acronym for Plasma rich in Growth Factors. It is a technique used to regenerate bone and soft tissue using a small amount of your own blood. New technology and the PRGF technique separates certain plasma proteins from your blood which are used to stimulate healing, foster new bone synthesis and repair the soft tissue in surgical sites. The process is safe and effective because it uses your own resources to speed healing. Using your own tissue eliminates risk of rejections and disease transmission.
Why all the excitement about PRGF?
PRGF 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 (GF) into the wound. These GF (platelet derived growth factors PGDF, transforming growth factor beta TGF, and insulin-like growth factor ILGF) function to assist the body in repairing itself by stimulating stem cells to regenerate new tissue. The more growth factors released sequestered into the wound, the more stem cells stimulated to produce new host tissue. Thus, one can easily see that PRGF permits the body to heal faster and more efficiently.
A subfamily of TGF, is bone morphogenic protein (BMP). BMP has been shown to induce the formation of new bone in research studies in animals and humans. This is of great significance to the surgeon who places dental implants. By adding PRGF, and thus BMP, to the implant site with bone substitute particles, the implant surgeon can now grow bone more predictably and faster than ever before.
PRGF has many clinical applications:
- Bone grafting for dental implants. This includes onlay and inlay grafts, sinus lift procedures, ridge augmentation procedures, and closure of cleft, lip and palate defects.
- Repair of bone defects created by removal of teeth or small cysts.
- Repair of fistulas between the sinus cavity and mouth.
PRGF also has many advantages:
- Safety: PRGF is a by-product of the patient’s own blood, therefore, disease transmission is not an issue.
- Convenience: PRGF can be generated in our office while you are undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure, such as placement of dental implants and bone or soft tissue grafting.
- Faster healing: The supersaturation of the wound with PRGF, and thus growth factors, produces an increase of tissue synthesis and thus faster tissue regeneration.
- Cost effectiveness: Since PRGF harvesting is done with only 40 cc of blood in our office, the patient need not incur the expense of the procedure in the hospital or at the blood bank.
- Ease of use: PRGF is easy to handle and actually improves the ease of application of bone substitute materials and bone grafting products by making them more gel-like.
Frequently asked questions about PRGF:
- Will my insurance cover the costs? Usually not, however our experienced Insurance Specialist will be glad to check with your insurance before the procedure. Since PRGF often allows bone growth without bone grafting, the cost of PRGF may offset by the savings from not having to have or pay for a bone graft.
- Is PRGF 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 PRGF centrifuge machine and spun down. In less than fifteen minutes, the PRGF is formed and ready to use.
- Should PRGF be used in all bone-grafting cases? Not always. In some cases, there is no need for PRGF. However, in the majority of cases, application of PRGF to the graft will increase the final amount of bone present in addition to making the wound heal faster and more efficiently.
- Can PRGF be used alone to stimulate bone formation? Yes, often a fibrin clot of PRGF can be used to stimulate bone formation. This process allows us to grow bone with no other bone or substitute material in many cases. Patients have the comfort of knowing that no foreign bone will be introduced into their system. PRGF must be mixed with the patient’s own bone, a bone substitute material such as demineralized freeze-dried bone, or a synthetic bone product such as Pepgen for larger augmentations.
- Are there any contraindications to PRGF? Very few. Obviously, patients with bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this in-office procedure. Check with your surgeon and/or primary care physician to determine if PRGF is right for you.