Wounds heal faster with autologous platelet gel

New procedure generates patients, revenue

Looking for a program that attracts new patients, requires a minimum of staff education, and nets an average profit of between $1,200 and $1,300 per procedure?

By utilizing the autologous platelet grafting gel, developed by SafeBlood Technologies in Little Rock, AR, the staff at Northwest Texas Surgery Center in Amarillo have performed 350 grafts on 275 patients in the past two years, with a net average profit of $1,300.

"The effectiveness of this graft has blown us away," says Dave Clark, executive director of the surgery center. The center began using the product two years ago as a site for the pilot test of the product. "After the testing period, we found that the costs of treating wounds decreased by almost 90% for patients and insurers because the wounds were healing faster, and we were eliminating some of the traditional treatments such as repeated surgical debridements, hyperbaric chamber, and ultimately, amputations," he says.

The procedure requires only one hour to draw about 60 cc blood from the patient, separate the blood into different components by spinning it in a centrifuge, and adding the agents that create the gel, says Kevin Russell, EMT, coordinator of special services, including the wound graft program, for Northwest Texas Surgery Center.

"Once the gel is sized and shaped to fit the wound, it is put into place and covered with a clear dressing and a bandage," he says. After three to seven days, the physician removes the initial dressing and applies a wet dressing.

A wet dressing that is changed regularly by the patient stays on for up to two weeks, Russell says. "At this point, we usually see 50% to 70% closure of the wound. The wound continues to heal after this point, with only a small percentage of patients requiring an additional graft," he adds.

Teaching staff members to use the equipment and chemicals that create the grafting gel is not a complicated process, Russell explains. Consent forms, protocols, and patient education handouts related to the procedure were developed using the manufacturer’s templates and modifying them for his center, he adds. [To see a copy of the platelet gel grafting documents, go to www.same-daysurgery.com and click on the "toolbox." Your subscriber number on your mailing label is your user name. Your password is sds (lowercase) plus your subscriber number (no spaces.)]

While grafting materials have been available for many years, the availability of a turnkey system that utilizes a tabletop centrifuge and easy-to-handle materials is a real step forward, says Calvin P. Britton, DPM, a podiatrist in Little Rock, AR. The initial investment for the SafeBlood system is between $7,500 and $8,000, but there are disposable supplies for each procedure, he says. The costs of these disposables vary according to the volume ordered, he adds.

While most of his wound care patients are diabetic patients with foot ulcers that won’t heal, Britton points out that the grafting gel can be used effectively to treat wounds resulting from surgical dehiscence, trauma, spider bites, venous stasis ulcers, and burns. "You can draw up to 400 cc blood to create large grafts for larger wounds," he says. The graft must be used on noninfected wounds, Britton says. Also, patients with poor circulation, anemia, debilitated condition, or poor venous access, may not be appropriate for the procedure because good circulation and a proper amount of blood for creation of the gel is necessary for a good outcome, he adds.

While patients, physicians, and same-day surgery center staff members are excited about the outcomes of wound care with autologous platelet gels, Britton stresses this procedure is not a replacement for other types of wound care.

"This is a significant new development in wound care, but it doesn’t replace good, standard wound care techniques," he says. "It should be evaluated as one more tool to use for hard-to-heal wounds that don’t respond to other treatments."

Sources and Resources

For more information, contact:

  • Kevin Russell, EMT, Coordinator of Special Services, Northwest Surgery Center, 3501 Soncy Road, Suite 118, Amarillo, TX 79119. Phone: (806) 359-7999. E-mail: homeboy2@cox.net.
  • Calvin P. Britton, DPM, 10018 W. Markham Road, Little Rock, AR 72205. Phone: (501) 534-8888. E-mail: drfootsie@yahoo.com.

Companies offering equipment and supplies to produce autologous platelet gel grafts include:

  • SafeBlood Technologies, 1100 N. University Ave., Suite 109, Little Rock, AR 72207. Phone: (800) 854-4855 or (501) 614-8550. Fax: (501) 666-4504. Web: www.safebloodtech.com.
  • Harvest Technologies, 40 Grissom Road, Suite 100, Plymouth, MA 02360. Phone: (508) 732-7500. Fax: (508) 732-0400. Web: www.harvesttech.com.
  • PPAI Medical, P.O. Box 62078, Fort Myers, FL 33906-2078. Phone: (888) 801-8814 or (941) 481-7725. Fax: (941) 481-7724. Web: www.perfusionpartners.com.