Subcision is a safe, simple, and effective technique designed to improve the appearance of depressed acne scars. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery describes acne scars as the result of inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The pore swells, causing a break in the follicle wall. Any lesions that are shallow tend to heal quickly, but those that are a deep break in the wall of the pore may cause infected material to spill out into nearby tissue – which creates the deeper lesions. The skin then tries to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers, but these repairs don’t create a smooth and flawless appearance like the original skin.

A few reasons patients seek out treatment for acne scars include:

  • Enhanced appearance of skin
  • Better overall skin health
  • Improved self-esteem

Subcision involves treating the acne scar with a fine needle to lift the pulled down scar off the lower surface. This needling technique stimulates new collagen to grow into the facial divot. The sharp edge of the needle is used to split fibrotic strands that have been securing the scar to the tissue underneath. At SF Bay Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetic Dermatology in San Ramon, we often combine subcision with either Total Fx (Active Fx plus Deep Fx), which is the leading CO2 fractional laser or with Plasma Portrait.

Total Fx puts tiny, microscopic holes into the scar, stimulating collagen to grow into the scar, much like how aerating your lawn stimulates the grass to grow thicker. Plasma Portrait is another great device that stimulates the collagen in the scar to grow thicker. These treatments have an overall effect of helping to fill in the scar, making it less noticeable, and smoothing the skin. We can even combine subcision, Total Fx, and Plasma Portrait for severe scarring.

Areas of Concern:

Our patients report excellent results, though if the scars are bad enough, treatment may need to be repeated. In addition, subcision is more cost-effective compared to treatments like Microneedling. The required materials for subcision are readily used in practices: needles, syringes, saline, and lidocaine. Microneedling, on the other hand, requires using expensive tools (Microneedling pens), sterile Microneedling tips that are single-use, and protective sleeves for the device. It also requires having topical skin care products applied to the patient after the treatment to ensure safe healing.

While Microneedling is a remarkably effective treatment for superficial scars, fine lines, and hypopigmentation, subcision tends to be more effective for the treatment of deeper scars such as box-car acne scars.

If you are interested in learning more about the subcision treatment at SF Bay Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetic Dermatology in San Ramon, give us a call at (925) 275-9333.