BACKGROUND: Sinus augmentation with simultaneous implant placement without bone graft material is a hotly debated technique. This technique could be improved and secured by the use of an autologous leukocyte- and platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) (Choukroun's technique) concentrate. The objectives of this study were to assess the relevance of PRF clots and membranes as the sole filling material during a lateral sinus lift with immediate implantation using radiologic and histologic analyses in a case series. METHODS: Twenty-five sinus elevations with simultaneous implantation were performed on 20 patients with Choukroun's PRF as the sole filling biomaterial. For each patient, a presurgical exam and a 6-month post-surgical radiologic exam were performed with a panoramic x-ray and three-dimensional volumetric computed radiography (VCR) to evaluate the subsinus residual bone height and the final bone gain around the implants. In nine patients, 6 months after the sinus lift, bone biopsies were collected on the buccal wall of the alveolar ridge at the level of the osteotomy window, and evaluated by histomorphometry. RESULTS: In this study, 41 implants from three different systems with different screw designs (Biomet 3I Nanotite, MIS Seven, Intra-Lock Ossean) were placed. All implants were inserted in residual bone height between 1.5 and 6 mm (mean +/- SD: 2.9 +/- 0.9 mm). The final bone gain was always very significant (between 7 and 13 mm [mean +/- SD: 10.1 +/- 0.9 mm]). No implant was lost. After radiologic analyses, the position of the final sinus floor was always in the continuation of the end of the implant. All biopsies showed well organized and vital bone. CONCLUSIONS: From a radiologic and histologic point of view at 6 months after surgery, the use of PRF as the sole filling material during a simultaneous sinus lift and implantation stabilized a high volume of natural regenerated bone in the subsinus cavity up to the tip of the implants. Choukroun's PRF is a simple and inexpensive biomaterial, and its systematic use during a sinus lift seems a relevant option, particularly for the protection of the Schneiderian membrane.
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