Treatment of Acne Scarring

Abrasive Needling and Collagen Induction is a relatively new procedure to Australia. Initially introduced by a plastic surgeon in South Africa, it has now been used successfully for 3-4 years.

The procedure can be performed in two ways depending on the size of the affected area. On limited areas such as single wrinkles or scars, the doctor would apply or inject local anaesthetic before abrading the area using a needle.

On larger areas, a special roller is required to abrade the area. After anaesthetising the roller is directed over the skin to finely pierce its surface creating multiple pinholes in the epidermis and dermis. This action stimulates the ‘fibroblast cells’ that are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin deposits within the skin, thus giving the skin its bulk and smoothness.
This technique causes visible localised bruising, swelling and an abrasive appearance to the skin’s surface. In most cases, these symptoms settle within 5 to 10 days. Immediately after the procedure a special cream and adhesive dressing is applied to the skin. The patient is reviewed the following day to decide if the dressing is to be re-applied or the area left open. Each patient is assessed individually on his or her needs.

Sun exposure should be minimised to protect the skin. Returning to work largely depends on the individual, their occupation and lifestyle. Rarely, infection can occur which can delay the healing process. Subcision is a procedure that is usually used in conjunction with other acne scar treatments.

Subcision is beneficial when acne scarring has left ‘depressions’ or ‘divots’ in the skin’s surface. The procedure involves the insertion of a sharp instrument, usually a needle, under the scarred area which when manoeuvred by the doctor breaks the fibrous tissue that has secured the scarred skin to the underlying tissue. This technique is known as ‘undermining’ the scar or ‘freeing up’ the skin surface from the underlying tissue.

Bleeding usually occurs during this procedure and is beneficial in assisting to raise the skin and flatten out the scarred skin surface. The depressed or divot areas on the skin’s surface appear less deep after this procedure as there is some initial swelling. As the swelling reduces, the degree of up lift will become evident.

Subcision is usually performed under local anaesthesia for small areas. When used in conjunction with other procedures for more extensive scarring, light sedation is usually recommended