After studying this article, the reader should be able to: 1. Define the role of platelets in hemostasis and wound healing. 2. Describe the technologies for platelet concentration and application. 3. Characterize the platelet concentration and growth factor components of platelet-rich plasma. 4. List the potential applications of platelet-rich plasma in plastic surgery and how it may be applied intraoperatively. 5. Discuss the limitations of the use of platelet-rich plasma and its potential complications.Summary:
Healing of hard and soft tissue is mediated by a complex array of intracellular and extracellular events that are regulated by signaling proteins, a process that is, at present, incompletely understood. What is certain, however, is that platelets play a prominent if not deciding role. Controlled animal studies of soft and hard tissues have suggested that the application of autogenous platelet-rich plasma can enhance wound healing. The clinical use of platelet-rich plasma for a wide variety of applications has been reported; however, many reports are anecdotal and few include controls to definitively determine the role of platelet-rich plasma. The authors describe platelet biology and its role in wound healing; the preparation, characterization, and use of platelet-rich plasma; and those applications in plastic surgery for which it may be useful.