Removing Acne Scars with Punch Techniques
Even after acne is treated, many sufferers of acne have to deal with the scars that it leaves. These red marks, somtimes deep enough to be termed "boxcars" or "icepicks," can be just as devastating to a person's self-image and confidence as the acne itself was. Acne scar treatment is achieved by punch techniques.
Punch techniques are minor cosmetic surgical techniques designed to make the skin look young and vibrant again. Methods for removing acne scars are varied, but they all work under the same general premise: put healthy skin next to scarred skin, and let the body heal itself. There are three general families of punch technique: replacement (also known as graft), excision and elevation.
Replacement, or graft, is just what it sounds like. A piece of healthy, non-scarred skin is taken from a different part of the body, placed over the scar, and stitched into the healthy skin surrounding the scar. This method is best for isolated scars - it doesn't work so well if there are a lot of scars next to each other.
Excision means that the scarred tissue is removed surgically. After it's gone, the two sides of what was formerly scar tissue are pulled and sutured together, then smoothed out, removing any trace that the acne scarring was ever there. For especially deep or wide scars, instead of suturing the sides together, skin is grafted onto the space where the scar tissue once was.
Elevation is most often used for acne scars with sharp edges. The scarred skin is removed as with excision, then the healthy skin underneath is elevated, then bonded to the edges of the scar using a skin glue called Dermabond. This is the most useful procedure if you don't want any skin coloration, as might happen with a graft, or small scars, as happens with excision sutures.
Any cosmetic surgical technique for removing acne scars isn't going to be perfect. Your skin is not going to look exactly like you dream, but it will look significantly clearer than a scarred skin or back. Costs typically range from $600 to $1000, depending on the severity of treatment needed, but are generally around $700-800.