Subcision addresses depressed acne scarring. Unlike dermabrasion which treats scars by abrading them away, subcision reduces the appearance of scarring from the underneath the skin’s surface. Other methods for treating skin indentations caused by previous acne include dermal fillers however the effects are only temporary.   During the procedure, individual scars will be treated using a tiny, hypodermic needle that will be inserted into the skin. The needle will be moved back and forth in a fanning pattern as the sharp edges of the needle will be used to cut away at the fibrotic scar tissue. These cuts effectively release the tethers of the scar from the underlying tissue. This release elevates the previously depressed skin and will continue to improve as the wound healing cascade will stimulate further collagen production. Providers will be cautious around sensitive areas such as the eyes and mouth to avoid injury of facial nerves and vessels. If many scars need to be treated, treatment will be divided into multiple session.

The goal of subcision is to reduce the appearance of depressed acne scarring.



Subcision improves the appearance of depressed acne scars by releasing the fibrotic tissue that pulls down the skin and creates the indentation. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after treatment with subcision.


Recovery Notes

Following a subcision treatment it is common to experience swelling for up to 2-3 days and bruising for 7-10 days. Ice packs and pain management therapy can be used for the pain. If prescribed, be sure to take any antibiotic and anti-infammatory medications as directed.


Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for subcision has “rolling scars” (distensible, depressed scars with gentle sloping edges) or tethered acne scars.


Not Recommended For

Subcision is not recommended for patients with a history of hypertrophic or keloid scarring or if they have blood clotting disorders.


Side Effects

Side effects from subcison include hematoma, pain and tenderness of treated sites, infection (which usually presents as localized papules or pustules), temporary post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and in severe cases, injury to nerves or blood vessels, or hypertrophic scarring.


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