Combination therapy using subcision, needling, and platelet-rich plasma in the management of grade 4 atrophic acne scars: A pilot study

Shashank Bhargava, George Kroumpouzos, Krishnendra Varma, Ujjwal Kumar
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2019, 18 (4): 1092-1097

BACKGROUND: Multimodality therapies including minimally invasive modalities are increasingly used in atrophic scarring.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as adjunctive therapy to a combined subcision and needling treatment in severe (grade 4) atrophic acne scarring.

METHODS: A total of 30 patients with grade 4 acne scars were randomly divided into two groups, 15 patients each: Group A underwent three sequential treatments of subcision and needling while Group B, three sequential treatments of subcision, needling, and topical application of PRP that were performed at 3-week intervals. Scar grading was assessed 3 months following the final session. Participant's assessment of treatment response was registered.

RESULTS: Scar improvement ≥50% was reported significantly more often by Group B than Group A patients (P = 0.025). Regarding physician-based assessment of scar grading post-therapy (number of patients with two grades improvement vs one grade or no improvement), there was a trend toward more improvement in Group B (P = 0.195). Physician's evaluation of acne scar improvement correlated with the patient's assessment of improvement: 60% of Group A and 66.6% of Group B patients appreciated an improvement of 25%-49% and 50%-74%, respectively. Mean duration of postprocedure erythema/edema was shorter among Group B than Group A patients (16.1 vs 32.9 hours, respectively). Overall, substantial improvement was noticed in rolling and boxcar scars with only a mild change in icepick scars.

CONCLUSION: Platelet-rich plasma appears to add to the improvement of grade 4 atrophic acne scars when combined with needling and subcision. These findings require further evaluation by future studies.


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