Leucocyte- and platelet-rich fibrin (L-PRF) as a regenerative medicine strategy for the treatment of refractory leg ulcers: a prospective cohort study

Platelets. 2018 Jul;29(5):468-475. doi: 10.1080/09537104.2017.1327654. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


Chronic wounds (VLU: venous leg ulcer, DFU: diabetic foot ulcer, PU: pressure ulcer, or complex wounds) affect a significant proportion of the population. Despite appropriate standard wound care, such ulcers unfortunately may remain open for months or even years. The use of leukocyte- and platelet-rich fibrin (L-PRF) to cure skin ulcers is a simple and inexpensive method, widely used in some countries but unknown or neglected in most others. This auto-controlled prospective cohort study explored and quantified accurately for the first time the adjunctive benefits of topical applications of L-PRF in the management of such refractory ulcers in a diverse group of patients. Forty-four consecutive patients with VLUs (n = 28, 32 wounds: 17 ≤ 10 cm2 and 15 > 10 cm2), DPUs (n = 9, 10 wounds), PUs (n = 5), or complex wounds (n = 2), all refractory to standard treatment for ≥3 months, received a weekly application of L-PRF membranes. L-PRF was prepared following the original L-PRF method developed more than 15 years ago (400g, 12 minutes) using the Intra-Spin L-PRF centrifuge/system and the XPression box kit (Intra-Lock, Boca Raton, FL, USA; the only CE/FDA cleared system for the preparation of L-PRF). Changes in wound area were recorded longitudinally via digital planimetry. Adverse events and pain levels were also registered. All wounds showed significant improvements after the L-PRF therapy. All VLUs ≤ 10 cm2, all DFUs, as well as the two complex wounds showed full closure within a 3-month period. All wounds of patients with VLUs > 10 cm2 who continued therapy (10 wounds) could be closed, whereas in the five patients who discontinued therapy improvement of wound size was observed. Two out of the five PUs were closed, with improvement in the remaining three patients who again interrupted therapy (surface evolution from 7.35 ± 4.31 cm2 to 5.78 ± 3.81 cm2). No adverse events were observed. A topical application of L-PRF on chronic ulcers, recalcitrant to standard wound care, promotes healing and wound closure in all patients following the treatment. This new therapy is simple, safe and inexpensive, and should be considered a relevant therapeutic option for all refractory skin ulcers.

Keywords: Diabetic foot; leukocyte- and platelet-rich fibrin; pressure ulcer; venous ulcer; wound healing.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer / pathology
  • Leg Ulcer / therapy*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Platelet-Rich Fibrin / metabolism*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*