Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): Current Applications in Dermatology

Jason Emer, MD

Disclosures

Skin Therapy Letter. 2019;24(5):1-6. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an autologous serum containing high concentrations of platelets and growth factors. PRP continues to evolve as an important treatment modality with many applications in dermatology, particularly in the areas of hair restoration, skin rejuvenation, acne scars, dermal augmentation, and striae distensae. Furthermore, combining PRP with laser therapies, microneedling, dermal fillers, and autologous fat grafting produces synergistic effects, leading to improved aesthetic results. Future studies should standardize PRP treatment protocols for specific indications. PRP holds considerable promise in dermatology with therapeutic applications continuing to expand.

Introduction

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an ever-expanding treatment modality that continues to demonstrate considerable promise in the field of dermatology. PRP has long been used in the medical fields of cardiac surgery, oral surgery, orthopedics, and facial plastic surgery, and it continues to develop as a versatile therapy in dermatology. PRP is an autologous serum containing high concentrations of platelets and growth factors.[1] Alpha granules within the platelets are responsible for promoting stem cell regeneration and soft tissue remodeling.[2] Many fundamental growth factors are contained within the PRP alpha granules, such as platelet-derived growth factors (aa, bb, ab), vascular endothelial growth factor, epithelial growth factor, transforming growth factor beta, and insulin-like growth factor.[3] Mitogenesis and differentiation of monocytes, fibroblasts, stem cells, keratinocytes, and endothelial cells occur as a result of PRP alpha granule growth factors.[2] These growth factors are also known to induce cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and chemotaxis, as well as contain serotonin, dopamine, histamine, adenosine, and calcium, which increase membrane permeability.[2–4]

The use of PRP results in improved cosmetic dermatologic outcomes through angiogenesis, neocollagenesis, and adipogenesis.[2] Applications for hair restoration and skin rejuvenation remain the most highly-supported indications for PRP in aesthetic dermatology (Table 1). Moreover, the use of PRP when combined with other treatment modalities, such dermal fillers, lasers, and other devices demonstrates significant improvements in skin appearance, texture, and tone. There is also emerging potential for the use of PRP with augmented fat injections to enhance fat survival (Figure 1). Although few clinical trials have been performed on the numerous above-mentioned therapeutic options, physicians note enhanced results with treatments combined with PRP versus solo treatment. PRP shows promising uses in the field of dermatology, and more studies are needed to test its validity alone or in combinations for enhancing outcomes.

Figure 1A.

Buttock augmentation with PRP/ACell®-enriched autologous fat grafting, male.

Figure 1B.

Buttock augmentation with PRP/ACell®-enriched autologous fat grafting, female.

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