Subcision for acne scarring: technique and outcomes in 40 patients

Dermatol Surg. 2005 Mar;31(3):310-7; discussion 317. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2005.31080.


Background: Treatment of acne scars is a therapeutic challenge that may require multiple modalities. Subcision is a technique that has been anecdotally reported to be of value in treating so-called "rolling scars."

Objectives: To assess the efficacy of subcision in the treatment of "rolling" acne scars.

Methods: A standard technique was developed for subcision. This was then applied to the treatment of rolling scars in patients, 40 of whom completed treatment and the prescribed follow-up. Six-month follow-up data were obtained from both patients and investigators.

Results: Subcision is associated with patient and investigator reports of approximately 50% improvement. Ninety percent of treated patients reported that subcision improved their appearance. The side effects of swelling, bruising, and pain are transient, but patients may have persistent firm bumps at the treatment site.

Conclusions: Subcision appears to be a safe technique that may provide significant long-term improvement in the "rolling scars" of selected patients. When complete resolution of such scars does not occur, combining subcision with other scar revision procedures or repeat subcision may be beneficial.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adult
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / surgery*
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged