REPORT THE WELLNESS
CLINICAL UPDATE Growth Factors and Tissue Engineering
If you’ve had the pleasure (or, perhaps, misfortune) of needing surgery in our office in the past month, you may have heard us discuss drawing some blood to harvest the growth factors within it. Even the 1–2 small vials of blood drawn for these procedures contain millions and millions of cells, including erythrocytes (red blood cells that carry oxygen), leukocytes (white blood cells that create our immune system), and platelets (cell fragments that aid to stop bleeding). While it may sound a little like science fiction, we are now able to harvest these growth factors contained within our white cells and platelets. In particular, we are able to harvest platelet alpha granules, platelet derived growth factors (PGDF), transforming growth factors (TGF β ), and vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF). These growth factors have been proven to dramatically aid in wound healing — especially the postoperative recovery of dental implant surgery, extractions, bone grafting, and many other surgical procedures. We collect growth factors through obtaining a biologic product called platelet rich fibrin, or PRF for short. To create PRF in the dental office, we first draw about 40 milliliters of blood (the volume of roughly half a cup of coffee). This can be done through the IV line if we are doing sedation on a patient, or it
Due to PRF being obtained from your own blood and cells, it is completely safe from the transmission of diseases or risk of rejection by the body. Once blood has been drawn into a specially designed vial, it is then spun in a centrifuge at 3,000 revolutions per minute. This centrifugal force separates the different cells from our blood and isolates only the cells most helpful for wound healing. After being spun, the helpful cells clump together to form a “ball” that can be shaped or molded to the surgical site. As the surgical site heals, these concentrated growth factors serve to not only increase healing times, but also minimize discomfort, swelling, and other side effects. While the idea of adding growth factors and “engineered” tissue to areas of the mouth undergoing surgery may sound like something from the future, this is actually just another example of all the constant advancements in medicine benefiting our patients today! If you have an upcoming surgery or are just curious, ask us about PRF at your next appointment!
can be obtained from the arm in the same way blood samples are drawn as part of routine physicals and bloodwork.
–Dr. Parth Patel
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