Surgery to get rid of acne scars is generally reserved for individuals with severe acne conditions and severe scarring. Also known as excision, surgery for acne scars is a procedure in which doctors cut out acne scars with a scalpel or needle. Doctors may also use a punch biopsy device to carry out the procedure as well.
Excision helps to get rid of acne scars by completely removing them from the body, leaving behind a wound that may heal more pleasingly. However, the primary purpose of this type of procedure is to prevent discomfort and pain that may be caused by severe acne scarring. Excision is usually reserved for getting rid of deep scars, such as ice pick and box car scarring.
To perform an excision, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon and staff will put a patient under anesthesia so that no pain is felt during the procedure. The surgeon will use a surgical instrument (either a needle, scalpel, or punch device) to remove the acne scar and scar tissue from the skin. The skin can then be sutured (stitched), which will leave behind a much less noticeable scar once it has healed.
An alternative form of excision to get rid of acne scars is known as a punch graft. Punch grafting is a surgical procedure which also removes the entire scar from the skin. However, a piece of skin taken from another part of the body is placed on the wound and allowed to heal together with the new wound. It may be stitched or affixed with surgical glue to the wound to keep it in place during the healing process.
Punch grafts to get rid of acne scars carries a risk of discoloration, however, because the skin graft is often from a different area of the body. If this is a concern, cosmetic surgeons may choose to instead use the tissue from the surgery site to cover the wound.
Important Info About Surgery to Get Rid of Acne Scars
Surgery to get rid of acne scars is generally an outpatient procedure with no hospital stay required. It can take up to a week for the wound to heal well enough to remove stitches and another few months for it to heal entirely.
Surgery to get rid of acne scars is a bona fide surgical procedure and carries the same risks as other surgeries. Infections can develop and the immediate scarring of the healed wound may appear to be worse than the original acne scar. (This should fade in time.) There is also a risk of allergic reaction to anesthesia, though this will typically be eliminated as a possibility before the procedure occurs.
The wound from the surgery may also appear to be much better than the acne scar at first, and then change over time. The skin may begin to separate at the point where the acne scar was removed, but follow up corrective surgery is possible to fix the problem.