Connective Tissue Grafting with Alloderm/PRF
Sometimes, the only thing worse than actually having a medical procedure done, is the healing time that goes along with it. Now there is a revolutionary technique gaining popularity in the dental and medical fields that is able to substantially shorten a patient’s healing time following a procedure. This method is called platelet rich fibrin (PRF) or platelet rich fibrin membrane (PRFM).
PRF (PRFM) describes a method of using all-natural platelet gel from the patient’s body to stimulate bone and soft tissue growth for faster healing. The PRF method was originated by Dr. Joseph Choukroun in France and was recently introduced to the United States. It is very effective in speeding up the patient’s healing process and is expected to become more widespread in the near future.
Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix (PRFM), which has been used by orthopedic surgeons to accelerate healing for quite some time, has recently been shown to decrease healing time associated with many oral surgery procedures.
Surgical applications in a Periodontal Office setting include guided tissue regeneration, ridge augmentation, sinus grafting, socket preservation, connective tissue grafting, periodontal surgery with osseous recontouring, bone grafting and even implant placement surgery. Research suggests that PRFM may accelerate healing of any surgical site where soft tissue or bone is needed.
To create the PRF material, blood is taken from the patient and spun by a special machine called a centrifuge into a platelet concentration. This platelet concentration is then produced into membranes which are rich in white blood cells and blood vessel growth factors. The membranes are then placed on or over the area which accelerated healing is desired.
These membranes are completely made of the patient’s own bodily material and promote wound healing and sealing, bone growth, and graft stabilization. This method of promoting cell regeneration is unique compared to more traditionally used techniques because the need to add anticoagulants, bone-derived thrombin, or other unnatural chemicals to the cell mixture is unnecessary.
Why is this Fibrin membrane so critical to wound healing? Introducing this membrane over the wound site essentially initiates a series of events immediately that would take days to begin under normal surgical circumstances. Growth factors (proteins), in the form of a membrane, are placed atop the bone or tissue graft essentially jump-starting the healing sequence.
This process also supports angiogenesis, or capillary development, essentially increasing blood flow to the area and facilitating faster wound closure. Because the Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix acts as a natural barrier membrane, the bone or tissue graft is able to heal in an ideal environment, often eliminating the need for sutures.
The PRFM may stimulate bone growth and is proven successful in facilitating soft tissue regeneration. Also, Dr. Doctor is able to use the patient's own membrane instead of synthetic or animal membranes, eliminating the possibility of rejection.
While this membrane can be used to accelerate wound healing at any surgical site, it is used routinely in orthopedic surgery and other types of bone surgery. Only recently has the oral and periodontal surgery communities begun applying this technique to surgeries inside the mouth.