Research Unit for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Reconstruction, Division of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria. COREMED-Cooperative Centre for Regenerative Medicine, JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Graz, Austria. Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.
Striae distensae, also known as stretch marks, particularly associated with female sex, pregnancy, obesity, and/or hormonal change, are linear bands of benign dermal lesions. Although not posing any health risk, aesthetically unpleasing stretch marks can cause significant psychological distress among those affected. In abundance of therapeutic approaches, some literature sources proclaim platelet-rich plasma to be a promising treatment modality for
striae distensae. We aimed to shed some light on the current literature evidence of platelet-rich plasma for treating stretch marks and performed an English literature analysis with two independent reviewers in accordance with PRISMA guidelines searching the PubMed and Web of Science databases in June 2019. Of the 12 found studies, 6 matched inclusion criteria. With no control groups in two, just two other reports used intraindividual comparisons, and all but one publication performed histopathological assessments. All studies observed clinical and subjective improvements without using validated scores or patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). The main findings were that multiple treatments with platelet-rich plasma demonstrated increased epidermal thickness, rete ridges formation, and collagen/elastin formation, while decreasing the inflammatory cell infiltrate. The current literature evidence supporting the use of platelet-rich plasma for striae distensae is poor. We propose in this review an outline for a study protocol with intraindividual control groups, standardised scores, validated PROMs, and participant incentives to enhance the scientific power in future clinical trials.