Background. A reappraisal of the conclusions of systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses validity related to Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), alone or in combination with other treatments, compared to regimens PRP-free for the treatment of acne scars.
Material and methods. An overview of SRs. The methodological quality of the reviews was assessed using AMSTAR-2 checklist; quality of the evidence of primary studies was appraised following the GRADE approach.
Results: Fifteen SRs were included in this overview. Data were from 124 overlapping reports, based on 34 individual primary studies (10 parallel arm randomized trials, 21 split-face studies, and 3 uncontrolled studies). Most of the studies evaluated combination of PRP with microneedling or with laser therapy compared to microneedling or laser therapy without PRP. Clinical improvement (reported as degree of improvement or improvement score) and patient’s satisfaction rate were significantly higher in PRP recipients compared to controls. Crusting time and duration of erythema were significantly shorter in PRP recipients compared to controls. Most of the reviews considered in this overview can be considered of low methodological quality due to the fact that several critical methodological requirements of AMSTAR-2 checklist were unmet or partially met; only 6 of the 15 reviews incorporated study quality in their conclusions, and no GRADE assessment was performed for the reported outcomes in any of the SRs. With the GRADE approach, the quality of the evidence for the outcomes analysed ranged from very low to low due to risk of bias in the primary studies, inconsistency between the studies, and imprecision.
Discussion. The low or very low certainty of evidence does not support clear clinical decision about the PRP use in combination with microneedling or laser therapy for the treatment of acne scars. Further well-designed studies are required to improve the evidence base for PRP combination therapy for acne scars.
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