Jury Still Out on Cosmetic Uses of PRP

Monday, April 30, 2018 | Phase 3/4 Trials , Fillers & Injectables , Research and Publications

Most studies evaluating platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for facial rejuvenation and other cosmetic procedures have reported positive results, but the research evidence supporting PRP for facial aesthetic procedures has important limitations – especially a lack of standardized PRP preparation and injection techniques, according to a review in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®.

Researchers analyzed published 22 published studies of PRP for specific types of facial aesthetic procedures. Fourteen studies evaluated the use of PRP for facial rejuvenation. All studies reported positive aesthetic outcomes with PRP injection, on its own or combined with fat grafting. Reported benefits of PRP included improvements in the volume, texture, and tone of the facial skin and decreased appearance of wrinkles.

Six studies using PRP to treat a specific type of hair loss called androgenic alopecia reported good results in terms of hair regrowth."Androgenic alopecia is perhaps the most convincing indication for treatment with PRP," according to Alexes Hazen, MD, and colleagues of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Health, New York and colleagues. 

Another two studies found positive results with the use of PRP to treat facial acne scars.

But despite these encouraging results, the review highlights several limitations of the evidence on PRP for facial aesthetic procedures. Methods of PRP preparation and injection varied considerably; some reports provided no information on the preparation technique. The studies also lacked standardized, objective assessments of skin quality before and after PRP treatment. Other issues included a lack of control groups and follow-up to determine whether the benefits of PRP persist over time.

"More studies are needed to optimize PRP treatment techniques. Until that time, our paper may be useful in guiding clinical practice,” DR. Hazen says. "To date, the question of whether PRP’s cocktail of growth factors generates a more youthful appearance has not been definitively answered," the researchers write. They note that PRP injection appears to be safe, with a low complication rate.

Dr. Hazen and coauthors emphasize the need for formal randomized, controlled trials of PRP of facial cosmetic procedures – including standardized preparation techniques, standard outcome measures, and longer follow-up.

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