During dermabrasion a physician uses a rotary sanding instrument to remove scars by sanding the skin. This abrasion process, also called surgical skin planing, evens out the skin, allowing a new layer of skin to replace the abraded skin. The new layer of skin has a smoother appearance than the previous skin.
Microdermabrasion is a procedure where the outermost surface of the skin is removed by light abrasion to lessen the effects of sun damage, scars, and dark spots on the skin. This technique results in minimal pain and requires no anesthetic.
Dermabrasion is an approved treatment for removing scars resulting from acne, chicken pox, accidents or disease. It is also approved for tattoo removal, and certain skin changes caused by sun damage.
A dermatologic surgeon performs dermabrasion in his office or in a surgical outpatient facility. The doctor administers anesthesia, and thoroughly cleans the area with an antiseptic. The doctor then sprays a topical spray to freeze the skin in the area of the scar. Then, he uses a high-speed rotary instrument with a brush to abrade the surface layers of the skin and smooth irregularities in the surface. Finally, he applies ointment and dresses the treated area.
The skin usually recovers from the treatment within two weeks. The skin may appear pink in color at first; this usually fades within eight to twelve weeks. When possible, patients should avoid direct sunlight for six months after the procedure, and use sunblock to protect their skin while outdoors.
Because different people’s skin reacts differently to scarring, the outcome of the procedure is not universal. Patients who have a history of developing keloid scars may notice thickened skin after dermabrasion. Some patients have developed a change in skin pigmentation after the treatment; some develop increased pigmentation while others suffer a loss of pigmentation. In some cases, a dermatologist can apply bleaching creams to lighten the skin, while in other cases the change in pigmentation is permanent.
Physicians may use dermabrasion to smooth the skin’s surface after skin graft treatments or surgical removal of scarred skin.
Last updated: 17-Nov-08