What is subcision?

Subcision is a procedure where a needle with a sharp blade is inserted into the skin to cut the scarring attachments that cause the surface of the skin to dimple.


How is subcision done?

The procedure is done using an 18 guage Nukor needle. This needle is a modified needle that has an arrow tip and sharp blade that can be used to cut through the second layer of the skin (the dermis). After identifying the acne scars to be treated, the area is mapped and anesthetized with topical numbing cream and local lidocaine injections. The Nukor needle is inserted into the skin at a 80 degree angle and a back and forth “jabbing” motion and side to side “windshield wiping” motion is used to cut the scars in the dermis that pull down the surface of the skin.


Does subcision hurt?

Subcision may hurt a little, but every effort is made to make sure the area is numb prior to the insertion of the needle. Most patients don’t feel anything except the numbing procedure.


What are the side effects of subcision?

Subcision has very minimal side effects. After the procedure, you may experience bruising and soreness. There may be a hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin) if a vessel is nicked, but this is similar to bruising and may simply take a little longer to resolve. The risk of infection or prolonged pain is minimal, but should be noted as well.


What improvement in my acne scars should I expect with subcision?

Subcision is not a one time procedure. With repeated subcision treatments, you may expect 60-70% improvement in your acne scars. Subcision is best used in conjunction with other acne scarring treatments such as fillers and CO2 laser resurfacing.


What type of acne scarring does subcision treat?

Subcision is best used for rolling acne scars rather than ice pick or sharp angle / pitted acne scars. For ice pick or sharp angle / pitted scars, punch excision and laser resurfacing are the best options.


How may subcision treatments will I need?

Most patients require anywhere from 3-6 subcision treatments. After the third treatment, you can pursue fillers to fill in the remaining acne scars, or jump to laser resurfacing.


More Information on Acne Scars and Acne Scar Treatments

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