Things to Know Before Getting a Subcision for Acne Scars

Disappointments are common in acne scar treatments, but what if we told you it doesn’t have to stay this way forever?

While acne scars aren’t completely unavoidable, there are plenty of treatments that have been shown to work—one of which is subcision.

Otherwise known as subcutaneous incisional surgery, subcision is a minor surgical procedure that involves using a small blunt cannula or Nokor needle that is inserted into the skin to release acne scars from the underlying tissues.

The sweeping motion helps to break down the tethers that are pulling down your skin and manually lifts scars to diminish its appearance and even out your skin texture.

Simultaneously, the process works to trigger collagen production at the target sites to further repair, rejuvenate and raise the scar over time.

The beauty of subcision lies in the technique’s simplicity and relatively low cost which makes it a good choice for many patients; however, certain types of acne scars tend to work better with subcision, i.e., tethered or anchored scars.

What are tethered acne scars?

Simply put: tethered scars are those which have fibrous bands between the base of the scar and the underlying connective tissues.

A quick test that you can do is to smile or talk—if you see a depression or dent, this means that your scars are attached to the underlying structures such as the muscle layer and SMAS.

The best way to deal with this type of scar is to break up the fibrous bands underneath, which is where subcision for acne scar works wonders. The most common type of tethered scars tend to be rolling scars; however, subcision can also be used to treat deeper boxcar or icepick scars (especially when used as part of a combination treatment approach).

Is subcision the right treatment for me?

If you have tried various treatments from retinoids, chemical peels and laser treatments to no avail—subcision might just be the treatment for you.

Something to take note of is to choose your aesthetic doctor wisely—despite being a relatively straightforward treatment, it is still possible to attain undesirable results due to improper techniques, tools and a lack of understanding of facial anatomy and scarring.

In addition, there is always a possibility of scars re-tethering after the treatment, which is why it is recommended to combine subcision with other complementary treatments such as Fractional CO2 laser, radiofrequency (RF) microneedling, dermal fillers or TCA Cross.

This has been proven time and time again by studies that showed using a combination treatment approach on acne scars yields the best results.

One example is a 2017 clinical study that showed that a combination of subcision and fractional RF microneedling produced safe and effective results for mixed type acne scars.

A 2021 review on Dermatology Times also showed that having an arsenal of treatment modalities to choose from increases overall patient satisfaction!

Try subcision @ The Clifford Clinic today!

As compared to blemishes and pigmentation, the uneven craters of acne scars can be hard to camouflage with makeup and can be a huge cause of distress for many of our patients.

At our aesthetic clinic, our doctors believe in utilizing a combination of treatments to help our patients achieve synergistic effects safely and effectively. Starting with a consultation to better understand your needs and expectations, our doctors will then develop a personalized treatment that prioritizes your comfort, safety and results.

We know that subcision isn’t the be-all cure-all for all types of acne scars (especially for those with deep icepick scars), which is why we also offer the revolutionary INFINI RF.

This minimally-invasive treatment can reach up to 3.5mm deep below the skin to not just trigger collagen production but also provide lifting, tightening and rejuvenation effects. Compared to traditional ablative lasers, INFINI RF is safe to use on all skin types and skin tones with faster recovery times.

To ensure your results are long-lasting, our doctors also like combining subcision with dermal fillers and injectables such as Rejuran Healer—which contains Salmon DNA to aid the healing process and further boost collagen production for synergistic effects.

Many of our patients also come to us for our acne treatment and hair transplant procedures due to our doctors’ competence, experience and knowledge on a wide range of aesthetic concerns.

If you are tired of trying treatments that bring little to no results—don’t hesitate to book your consultation with us today!


1. How many subcision treatments will I need?

In general, 2-6 sessions at an interval of 4 weeks in between is recommended.

The best results are often noticed 2-6 months after the first treatment due to the collagen remodelling effects that take place over time.

2. Am I a suitable candidate for subcision?

This is a question that we get asked all the time, and the answer is: just like any other acne scar treatment, subcision isn’t suitable for all types of acne scars.

Specifically, it works best for tethered atrophic scars and might not be as helpful in treating raised (hypertrophic) scars and keloid scars.

Patients who are taking oral retinoids or are currently dealing with bacterial or viral infections, active acne or blood clotting disorders are also not advised to undergo this treatment.

3. How painful is the procedure?

Some pain can be expected with the procedure as well as mild swelling and bruising at the target site. Not to worry, local anaesthesia will be applied before the treatment to ensure the process is kept as comfortable as possible.

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