Maxillary lateral sinus floor elevation, or external sinus lift, is a widespread surgical intervention in the dental field. Insertion of implants in the posterior region of the maxilla often requires reconstruction of the remaining native bone that has insufficient volume.

Background and aims. Much of the research published involves using artificial products, like xenografts and resorbable collagen membranes, after a prior Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT) investigation. Nowadays, more accessible access, less financial costs, a biological approach, and faster healing are objectives that surround this procedure. Leucocytes and platelets rich in Fibrin (L-PRF) are a natural component with a high concentration of growth factors. Due to its regenerative properties and lack of complications, it is used in several medical fields, like orthopedics, dermatology, and oral surgery. This retrospective study aims to compare results in bone height and volume obtained through external sinus lift, either by using xenografts or autologous plasma rich in fibrin, by evaluating the quantity of new bone formation from a radiological point of view.

Methods. Fifty-eight Caucasian patients were included in this retrospective study; 48 were submitted to xenograft procedure, and 10 were selected for L-PRF grafting material with simultaneous implant placement. Lack of clinical and histological studies performed on patients with L-PRF surgeries limited us in choosing a larger group for the radiological analysis. CBCT evaluation was performed before surgery and 6 months after. All patients selected for the study presented good general and oral health, acute oral and sinus infections excluded; smoking and periodontal disease were also criteria of exclusion. Two operators performed the measurements in pre-established landmarks in different time frames. The two independent groups were compared with the Wilcoxon rank-sum test for quantitative data. Qualitative characteristics were described as counts and percentages. All analyses were performed in an R environment for statistical computing and graphics.

Results. Mean bone height gain in the xenograft group in the regions was as follows: 7.44 for the anterior landmark, 12.14 for the median and 8.28 for the distal. The mean group height gained for the L-PRF group was 0.1 anteriorly, -0.18 for the median measurement, and 0.23 distally. We obtained excellent overall reliability for all the height measurements between the two operators.

Conclusions. Further studies must be conducted to establish new sets of surgical protocols in case L-PRF alone is found to be a reliable, stable, biological alternative to the well-documented xenografts in external sinus lifts. Radiological results, although promising, must be further applied in long term clinical survival of the implants in the grafted sites. Also, studies combining L-PRF in conjunction with xenograft might bring improved clinical results in terms of reduced postoperative complications and accelerated healing. 



dental implant, bone grafting, xenograft material, L-PRF, sinus lift, radiological imaging