Platelet‐Rich Plasma Plus Needling and Subcision Improves Atrophic Acne Scarring

The combination of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), needling, and subcision was associated with improvement in grade 4 atrophic acne scars, according to new study results published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

A small cohort of 30 patients with grade 4 acne scars were randomly assigned to either 3 sequential treatments of subcision and needling only (n=15) or 3 sequential treatments of subcision, needling, and topical PRP application (n=15). Treatments were performed at 3‐week intervals. At 3-month follow-up, blinded dermatologists graded the scars. Patients also rated their improvements as either poor (0% to 24% improvement), good (25% to 49% improvement), very good (50% to 74% improvement), or excellent (75% to 100% improvement).

Patients in the combination therapy group more often reported a ≥50% improvement in scars compared with the needling and subcision only group (P =.025). There was a trend toward greater improvement in scarring in the PRP-based therapy group based on physician assessment at 3 months (P =.195).

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Approximately 60% of patients in the needling and subcision only group reported good improvement vs 66.6% of patients in the PRP group who reported very good improvement in acne scarring. The mean duration of postprocedural erythema/edema was shorter in the PRP group (16.1 vs 32.9 hours).

Limitations of the study included the small sample size, as well as the short duration of follow-up.

The addition of PRP to subcision and needling is a “cost‐effective multimodality therapy [that] requires a relatively small number of sessions and is associated with high level of patient satisfaction and minimal downtime,” concluded the researchers.

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Bhargava S, Kroumpouzos G, Varma K, Kumar U. Combination therapy using subcision, needling, and platelet-rich plasma in the management of grade 4 atrophic acne scars: A pilot study [published online March 28, 2019]. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi:10.1111/jocd.12935