What is subcision?
A minor surgical procedure to release bonds attaching scars to underlying tissue

What is subcision useful for?
Certain types of acne scarring
Chicken pox scars
Some surgical scars and traumatic scars

What’s involved with treatment?
Numbing cream or injections prior
A needle or cannula is inserted under the skin, to break the bonds holding the scars down
Bruising and swelling for up to seven days

What is subcision?

Subcision is a minor surgical procedure to treat scars which are attached to the underlying tissue. It involves inserting a fine needle or cannula underneath the surface of the skin, and manoeuvering it to break the strands of tissue which tether the scar to the underlying tissue. By breaking these strands, depressed scars are lifted, improving their appearance. 

What kinds of scars can subcision treat?

Subcision is most commonly used to treat certain types of acne scars that are tethered or attached to the underlying tissue. It’s also used to treat chicken pox scars, surgical scars and traumatic scars. 

What does treatment involve?

Subcision is usually performed with topical or local anaesthesia (the use of anaesthetic creams or injections) to minimise discomfort. Results are usually apparent straight away, although there may be some bruising and swelling for up to seven days after the procedure. Multiple treatments may be required. Sometimes, subcision is combined with injections of dermal fillers or other scarring treatments.

Chandrashekar B, Nandini A. Acne scar subcision. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2010;3(2):125-126. 

Dadkhahfar S, Robati RM, Gheisari M, Moravvej H. Subcision: Indications, adverse reactions, and pearls. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 May;19(5):1029-1038.

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Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…