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

Acne scars
Acne scars. Close-up of scars caused by acne on the face of a 23-year-old male patient. Acne is a common skin disease characterised by scaly red skin, spots and pimples, which can leave scars.
Findings suggest that the combination of subcision, needling, and platelet‐rich plasma can be an effective treatment for severe atrophic acne scars.

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