Subcision Acne Scar Treatment - Adelaide
Subcision for acne pitted acne scars is one of the best methods of treating scars. This treatment method is used for; tethered, anchored and rolling scars. These scars usually form on the cheeks, chin and temple regions.
Best results are achieved when matching the treatment method to the scar type.
1. Subcision of acne scars has been proven to significantly improve scar appearance by 61.4%, making this treatment highly effective.
2. Subcision can be performed on various acne scars but is especially successful on depressed and rolling scars.
3. The treatment also promotes new collagen production in the skin, as the subcision technique activates your body’s natural healing processes. This will tighten and plump the skin, helping to smooth over acne scarring.
4. Most patients find this treatment relatively comfortable, and it has very minimal downtime for the significant enhancements it can provide.
5. Subcision acne scar treatments can also be conducted in combination with hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal fillers, which can combat ice pick and boxcar acne scars that are often quite deep. The filler provides a buffer to re-plump and volumise the skin, pushing out scarring, fine lines, and creases.
How it works
What is acne subcision treatment?
Subcision acne scar treatment is a technique for treating scars that are depressed and bound down within the skin by fibrous scar tissue.
Subcision basically refers to “subcutaneous incision-less surgery” used in the treatment of scarring.
Subcision can be performed in the doctors’ office. Scars are released by inserting a special needle into the skin. The needle is used to manually sever the scar tissue that is anchoring the skin down. The injury not only releases the epidermis from the lower dermis but also creates an injury that stimulates collagen growth and improves the appearance of the scar over time.
What Types of Scars Can be Treated Using Subcision?
Subcision is most successful on certain types of scars. It is important to take into account your scar type, scar depth, skin type and downtime involved. Subcision for acne scars is a very good option for the following types of scars:
- Rolling acne scars
- Chickenpox scars
- Stretchable scars from injury or surgery
- Deep wrinkles
How is Subcision Treatment Performed?
Subcision is performed under local anaesthesia and is well tolerated by most patients. Your skin is first cleansed with a skin prep solution to disinfect the area. The scars are then mapped out with a surgical pen. Local anaesthesia is then injected to numb the skin.
The type of needle used will depend on the scar type. Typically, we use either a hypodermic 18-23G needle or an 18G Nokor needle. The Nokor needle is a tri-bevelled needle designed especially for subcision. Upon insertion, the needle is manoeuvred to break the bands of scar tissue beneath the skin. You may feel a ‘plucking’ sensation as the needles break away the scar tissue tethering the skin downwards.
Once the procedure is complete, pressure is applied to the area to help reduce bleeding and swelling. A topical antibiotic ointment is applied to prevent infection and encourage healing.
How Does Subcision Treatment Work?
Why Are Dermal Fillers Sometimes Used With Subcision?
Dermal fillers for acne scars can help improve rolling scars, atrophic scars and tethered scars. We use a natural filler developed from cross-linking technology. This makes the filler more stable and lasts longer.
This natural filler is a commonly found molecule that supports skin architecture and keeps skin hydrated through its water-retaining properties.
Combining subcision with fillers for selected atrophic acne scars can lead to long-lasting results.
Are The Results Permanent?
By releasing the anchoring of the scar the surface skin is then free to rise up, resulting in smoother skin. The results are largely permanent, however, during the healing period, it is possible for the scar to re-anchor.
To prevent this from happening, fillers are often used to act as a spacer between the skin and deeper scar tissue. The filler will naturally be absorbed by the body over time and eventually be replaced by collagen, resulting in a permanent lifting of the scar.
What should I expect after the treatment?
Immediately following the treatment, you will experience swelling, bruising, and tenderness of the treated area for the first 24-48 hours. A cold compress will be applied to minimise the swelling and bruising, and some patients may be given antibiotics to take for the first seven days post-treatment.
Typical aftercare instructions for optimal recovery include:
- No strenuous activity for 48 hours post-treatment.
- Avoid blood-thinning medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen for the first 48 hours.
- Take all prescribed medicines to prevent infection or irritation.
- Avoid touching the face unless your hands are properly clean and sanitised.
- Do not wash your face for the first 12 hours.
- Wait a few days before resuming your regular skincare regimen.
- Avoid temperature hot food and drinks for the first 24 hours post-treatment.
- Keep dressings on the treatment sites for 48 hours.
- Avoid applying pressure or tension until 48 hours after your treatment.
- Apply high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin and avoid hyperpigmentation developing.
Your recovery plan will ensure the best possible outcome for your skin and help support your body’s natural healing.
Dr Rahma Targett
Dr Rahma Targett is a General Practitioner(FRACGP), with a specialty in Cosmetic Medicine. She founded Advanced Cosmetic Medicine in 2016 and has since become well known as a trusted and in demand Cosmetic Physician in Adelaide. She has a Diploma in Dermoscopy and a Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine with the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. Dr Targett is a leader in her field and regularly attends Cosmetic conferences to keep up to date with modern aesthetic techniques. At advanced Cosmetic Medicine you can always be reassured that you will be welcomed and treated personally by Dr Rahma Targett.
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Who is not not a suitable candidate for subcision?
Subcision should not be performed in individuals that have an active skin infection, and in individuals who are prone to abnormal skin scarring like hypertrophic and keloidal scars. If you are on blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder this increases the risk of bleeding during and after the procedure, therefore a consultation is needed to weigh the risk versus benefits of the procedure. In addition, if you have been on oral retinoids for the last 12 months, this procedure may not be suitable as the risk of poor wound healing is significantly increased.
What is the recovery time after subcision?
Immediately after the procedure, there will be some redness and swelling that lasts 2-3 days. Pain is minimal post-procedure. Bruising is common after the procedure and will fade in 7-10 days depending on your healing and skin type.
Are there any risks involved with subcision acne scar treatments?
Like with any medical or cosmetic treatment, there are associated risks and complications. Most of these risks rarely occur, but patients should be mindful of the potential for these complications to occur before undergoing treatment.
Potential risks associated with subcision acne scar treatments include:
- Poor scarring
- Temporary nerve damage
- Skin discolouration
How do I know if I’m a suitable candidate for a subcision treatment?
Because subcision acne scar treatments are designed for scars tethered to the skin, it is essential to establish if your scarring is anchored. The best way to do this is to assess the skin while your face is animated, such as when you smile or frown. If a scar depression is noticeable when you smile, this indicates that the scar tissue is attached to the muscle and SMAS layers of tissue.
It is vital that your acne scarring is evaluated in person by Dr Targett so that she can determine the scarring while your face moves to ensure the treatment can successfully target those scars.
How long will it take for the results to be noticeable?
Results may be seen immediately. However, it will take time for the swelling and bruising to subside for these results to be noticed. Final results can usually be seen one to three months post-treatment. Your skin’s texture will continue to improve for up to a year afterwards as new collagen production is continuously stimulated.
How many treatments are required?
The treatment may need to be repeated a couple of times for deep or extensive acne scarring, but generally, only one treatment is required. If multiple areas need to be treated, multiple sessions will be necessary to treat each site individually.