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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2008 Jan;74 Suppl:S28-36.

Standard guidelines of care for acne surgery.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.


Acne surgery is the use of various surgical procedures for the treatment of postacne scarring and also, as adjuvant treatment for active acne. Surgery is indicated both in active acne and post-acne scars. PHYSICIANS' QUALIFICATIONS: Any Dermatologist can perform most acne surgery techniques as these are usually taught during postgraduation. However, certain techniques such as dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, scar revisions need specific "hands-on" training in appropriate training centers.


Most acne surgery procedures can be performed in a physician's minor procedure room. However, full-face dermabrasion and laser resurfacing need an operation theatre in a hospital setting. ACTIVE ACNE: Surgical treatment is only an adjunct to medical therapy, which remains the mainstay of treatment. Comedone extraction is a process of applying simple mechanical pressure with a comedone extractor, to extract the contents of the blocked pilosebaceous follicle. Superficial chemical peel is a process of applying a chemical agent to the skin, so as to cause controlled destruction of the epidermis leading to exfoliation. Glycolic acid, salicylic acid and trichloroacetic acid are commonly used peeling agents for the treatment of active acne and superficial acne scars. CRYOTHERAPY: Cryoslush and cryopeel are used for the treatment of nodulocystic acne. Intralesional corticosteroids are indicated for the treatment of nodules, cysts and keloidal acne scars. Nonablative lasers and light therapy using Blue light, non ablative radiofrequency, Nd:YAG laser, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), PDT (Photodynamic Therapy), pulse dye laser and light and heat energy machines have been used in recent years for the treatment of active inflammatory acne and superficial acne scars. Proper counseling is very important in the treatment of acne scars. Treatment depends on the type of acne scars; a patient may need more than one type of treatment. Subcision is a treatment to break the fibrotic strands that tether the scar to the underlying subcutaneous tissue, and is useful for rolling scars. Punch excision techniques such as punch excision, elevation and replacement are useful for depressed scars such as ice pick and boxcar scars. TCA chemical reconstruction of skin scars (CROSS) (Level C) is useful for ice pick scars. Resurfacing techniques include ablative methods (such as dermabrasion and laser resurfacing), and nonablative methods such as microdermabrasion and nonablative lasers. Ablative methods cause significant postoperative changes in the skin, are associated with significant healing time and should be performed by dermatosurgeons trained and experienced in the procedure. Fillers are useful for depressed scars. Proper case selection is very important in ensuring satisfactory results.

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