Did you know that an estimated 85% of the global population has at some point suffered from an acne breakout? It makes sense then that a large percentage of the population continues to struggle with the self-esteem and psychological trauma caused by the inevitable and subsequent scarring. With this in mind, Dr Anushka Reddy discusses subcision as an effective treatment modality for acne scarring.
Looking at reports of the staggeringly high percentage of people who suffer with acne and it’s scarring, it’s little wonder that the aesthetic industry has spent decades discovering new and effective acne scar treatment protocols.
The main problem is that acne scars are difficult to treat by nature. To treat them effectively, one has to have an understanding of the physical anatomy of the scar – plus provide a suitable treatment technique to reverse the effects of the scar.
There are a few treatments available on the circuit these days; with some being more successful than others. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels and Dermapen are proving to be very effective at minimizing visibility of acne scars, but they do not treat the underlying problem. As such, I only use them once I have completed a scar reduction treatment called Subcision.
Subcision and the Acne Scar
Subcision is my acne scar technique of choice, simply because it addresses the scar formation and the skin itself. Acne scars are fibrous scar bands that pull the surface of the skin inwards toward the deeper dermis, creating the pot mark or ice pick scar.
It would be pointless to simply insert dermal fillers below the scar without removing the scar tissue first. In this case, the dermal filler would temporarily reduce the visibility of the scar, but not remove it completely. Therefore, the patient would need to undergo bi-annual treatments to maintain the result.
With subcision techniques we use a needle to break up the fibrous scar bands before injecting dermal fillers. We break the scar bands by inserting the needle just outside the radius of the scar, and run it through the scar parallel to the surface of the skin in a fan like motion.
This disrupts the band while breaking many of them. Then by injecting dermal fillers into the cavity that remains, we can accurately and effectively treat acne scars.
Subcision can be a little uncomfortable for patients, so in most cases we use nerve blocks and topical anaesthetics to keep patients comfortable.
How many treatments?
Subcision is also not a once off treatment. The severity of one’s scarring will determine how many treatments you need.
The choice of dermal filler required is also a major element in this treatment. Most common fillers include Hyaluronic Acid (HA) dermal fillers with limited lifespan, specifically designed for large volume plumping.
Following a subcision treatment, I recommend all my patients to follow a skin rejuvenation protocol, which includes chemical peels, homecare and in some cases, the Vampire Facial. These additional treatments will allow the skin to return to normal, while creating a uniform effect on the skin. This will only add to the confidence gained from undergoing this treatment.
This article was written by Dr Anushka Reddy and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine March Autumn 2015 Edition (Issue 13).
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