Cosmetic Dermatology

Microneedling Therapy With and Without Platelet-Rich Plasma

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Combination Use of Microneedling and PRP

Several studies have compared the effects of microneedling with and without the application of PRP (Table).17-20 In an animal model, Akcal et al17 examined the effects of microneedling and PRP on skin flap survival. Eight rats were randomly divided into 5 groups: sham, control, microneedling alone, microneedling plus PRP, and microneedling plus platelet-poor plasma. Treatments were applied to skin flaps after 4 hours of induced ischemia. The surviving flap area was measured, with results demonstrating significantly higher viable areas in the microneedling plus PRP group relative to all other groups (P<.01). On histologic examination, the microneedling plus PRP group showed well-organized epidermal layers and a dermal integrity that matched the dermis of the sham group.17

Asif et al18 performed a split-face comparison study of 50 patients with atrophic acne scars. On the right side, microneedling was performed followed by intradermal injections and topical application of PRP. On the left side, microneedling was performed followed by intradermal injections of distilled water. The study included 3 treatment sessions with 1 month between each session. Scars were assessed using the Goodman and Baron scale,21 which is designed to grade the morphology of postacne scarring. Scars on the right side improved by 62.2% and scars on the left side improved by 45.8%; prior to treatment, both sides demonstrated similar severity scores, but final severity scores were significantly reduced in the microneedling plus PRP group relative to the microneedling plus distilled water group (P<.00001). No residual side effects from treatment were reported.18

Examining the degree of improvement more carefully, microneedling plus PRP yielded excellent improvement in 40% (20/50) of patients and good improvement in 60% (30/50).18 Microneedling plus distilled water led to excellent improvement in 10% (5/50) and good improvement in 84% (42/50). Given that microneedling plus distilled water still provided good to excellent results in 94% of patients, the addition of PRP was helpful though not necessary in achieving meaningful benefit.18

In another split-face study, Fabbrocini et al19 evaluated 12 adult patients with acne scars. The right side of the face received microneedling plus PRP, while the left side received microneedling alone. Two treatments were performed 8 weeks apart. Severity scores (0=no lesions; 10=maximum severity) were used to assess patient outcomes throughout the study. Acne scars improved on both sides of the face following the treatment period, but the reduction in scar severity with microneedling plus PRP (3.5 points) was significantly greater than with microneedling alone (2.6 points)(P<.05). Patients tended to experience2 to 3 days of mild swelling and erythema after treatment regardless of PRP addition. With only 12 patients, the study was limited by a small sample size. The 10-point grading system differed from the Goodman and Baron scale in that it lacked corresponding qualitative markers, likely decreasing reproducibility.19

Chawla20 compared the effectiveness of combination therapy with microneedling plus PRP versus microneedling and vitamin C application. In a split-face study of 30 patients with atrophic acne scars, the right side of the face was treated with microneedling plus PRP and the left side was treated with microneedling plus vitamin C. Four sessions were performed with an interval of 1 month in between treatments. The Goodman and Baron Scale was used to assess treatment efficacy. Overall, both treatments led to improved outcomes, but in categorizing patients who demonstrated poor responses, a significantly larger percentage existed in the microneedling plus vitamin C group (37% [10/27]) versus the microneedling plus PRP group (22% [6/27])(P=.021). Additionally, aggregate patient satisfaction scores were higher with microneedling plus PRP relative to microneedling plus vitamin C (P=.01). Of note, assessments of improvement were performed by the treating physician and patient satisfaction reports were completed with knowledge of the therapies and cost factor, which may have influenced results.20

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