Autologous Fat Grafting, Platelet-Rich Plasma Comparable Treatments for Acne Scarring

Acne scarring on cheek
Acne scarring on cheek
The efficacy and safety of autologous fat grafting and platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of post-acne scars is compared.

The efficacy and safety of both autologous fat grafting and platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of post-acne scars found support in study data published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. The 2 treatment modalities had similar scarring improvement scores and comparable patient satisfaction rates.

This study enrolled patients with post-acne scars who sought care at a dermatology clinic in Karnataka, India. Patients with active acne on the face were not eligible for inclusion. Patients were divided into 2 treatment groups. The first group received a single session of subcision with autologous fat grafting. The second group received subcision followed by intradermal platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection once monthly for 3 months. Clinical photographs were taken before and after each treatment session. Treatment response was assessed using the Goodman & Baron’s quantitative global acne scarring grading system.

A total of 24 patients were enrolled, of whom 17 were women and 7 were men. All patients were aged 18 to 45 years. Mean duration of acne scars was 5.24 ± 2.08 years. At baseline, 37.5% of patients had mild scarring per the Goodman & Baron’s system, 45.8% had moderate scarring, and 16.7% had severe scarring. All patients completed the full treatment course and attended a follow-up visit. Both groups showed significant reductions in acne scarring. The fat grafting group had a mean score improvement of 61.23% ± 9.48% from baseline (P <.001). The intradermal PRP group had a mean improvement of 44.16% ± 7.28% (P <.001). After treatment completion, the percentages of patients with mild and moderate scarring were 70.8% and 20.8%, respectively. No patients remained in the severe scarring group at follow-up. At the 3-month post-treatment visit, 37.5% patients 37.5% described their results as “excellent.” In all, 5 of these patients had received fat grafting and 4 had received intradermal PRP. The primary side effects were mild pain, transient edema, erythema after procedure. These symptoms subsided within 3 to 4 days without treatment.

Both treatment modalities tested in this study yielded significant improvements in acne scarring, the researchers noted. However, the small study cohort limits data generalizability; these treatment methods warrant further investigation in a larger setting, they wrote.


Shetty VH, Bhandary SN, Bhandary R, Suvarna C. A comparative study of efficacy and safety of autologous fat grafting versus platelet-rich plasma in the treatment of post-acne scars. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online October 4, 2021. doi:10.1111/jocd.14503