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Automated Technique Accurately Measures Platelet Counts in "Platelet Gel" Products

A special blood concentrate known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can promote healing in a wide range of medical and surgical situations, // but research has been limited by the lack of a universally accepted approach to measuring the platelet concentrations contained in PRP. A study in the September/October issue of The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery presents an accurate approach to measuring platelet counts in PRP preparations, using standard hematology equipment.

Jennifer E. Woodell-May, Ph.D., and colleagues at Biomet, Inc., of Warsaw, Ind., developed an approach to measuring platelet concentrations in PRP using a conventional automated hematology analyzer. The analyzer was capable of measuring platelet counts of up to 2 million platelets per microliter—relatively high, but below the very high counts contained in PRP preparations.

For the current study, platelet concentrations in PRP specimens were measured in two ways: using the authors' automated approach and a time-consuming manual count technique.

Comparisons showed no significant difference between the automated and manual counts: the average difference was only about one percent. The average amount of variation was significantly lower with the automated technique: about three percent, compared to seven percent with the manual count technique.

The automated counts were highly accurate, even though the platelet concentrations contained in the PRP preparations were beyond the limit of the hematology equipment in typical use. Platelet concentrations of over 3 million cells per microliter were accurately measured. Further studies suggested that accurate measurements could be made at platelet concentrations up to 4.8 million per microliter.

Platelet-rich plasma preparations, sometimes called "platelet gels," are made by taking a small sample of the patient's own blood and producing a specimen with a very high concentration of platelets. Platelets are bloo
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