I am looking for the right surgery and doctor to remove my acne scars. Any suggestions? (photos)

I am looking for the right surgery and doctor to remove my acne scars. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of doctors near me that perform such procedures but I am willing to travel 2-3 hours which is the most likely options based one research. I am torn between fraxel, the new co2,or fillers for my scars. Please help. This has been a 15 year decision that I am finally ready to make.
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Doctor Answers 12

Acne scar

No role for fraxel, co2 or peels.... you need to fill  up from below.. suggest fillers and or subcision


Gainesville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

I am looking for the right surgery and doctor to remove my acne scars. Any suggestions?

Thank you for your question. Using Smartskin CO2 laser treatments would be your best option to start with. When used properly the damage can be reduced greatly. Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for a treatment plan that is best for you.

Ematrix for acne scars

Ematrix can help improve your acne scars that are atrophic. In my office, I use them in combination with lasers, microneedling, and acne surgery. 

Best, 
Dr. Karamanoukian 
Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Acne Scarring Options

The GOLD STANDARD for acne scarring is the Fractionated CO2 Laser. We use the SmartSkin CO2 Laser and have had very good results. There is also an FDA Approved dermal filler for acne scars called Bellafill. Using a combination of treatments is usually the best approach!

Elizabeth S. Jacobson, MD
Hoover Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Multimodal approach to acne scars

Thank you for your question and for sharing your photo. I find that multimodal approach to acne scar treatment is much more effective than any single treatment modality. The multimodal approach usually encompasses the following:
1) fractional laser resurfacing - CO2 is ideal for lighter skin types who can tolerate some downtime and usually requires one treatment. Radio frequency treatments are better for darker skin types or those who don't want as much downtime. They usually require several treatments.
2) Subcision techniques to break the tethering between the base of the scar and the underlying tissue. This is usually coupled with dermal fillers to help occupy the newly released space. Treatments are often repeated yearly, with improvements seen with each treatment as the untethered skin starts to remember it's less tethered state
3) Sculptra - is a specialized filler that builds collagen and when injected superficially, has also been found to help remodel the skin under the the acne scars
4) Ulthera - is a non-invasive approach to tightening the skin via collagen formation to help tighten the appearance of acne scars
5) Profound - is a minimally invasive radio frequency microneedling approach that stimulates Elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid formation in the skin. It also shows promise in helping with acne scars, but does require more study.
6) maintenance therapy with chemical peels, microdermabrasion and skincare are also important measures.
7) keeping good control of any active acne is also important to help maintain a healthy looking skin and mitigate against future scar formation.

A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who has these multimodal approaches will be a great way to customize an approach for you.

Acne Scars – Combination of Treatments Needed

The best treatment for acne scars depends upon an individual’s skin type, age, ethnicity, sun exposure, overall health and most importantly, the type of acne scars present (ice pick scars, boxcar scars, rolling scars, hypertrophic scars and variable degrees of hyperpigmentation). In order to give you an accurate treatment plan, a consultation is required to properly assess your skin.

An important step for all skin types is sun protection including the use of daily sunscreen, sun hats and sunglasses, all of which help prevent aging and sunburns. 

When it comes to acne scar treatments, a combination of treatments are available including cosmeceuticals (medical grade skin care products specific for acne including ZO® Skin Health or ZO® Medical, Skinceuticals® or Glo-Minerals®), advanced laser resurfacing procedures (CO2 laser, Er:YAG laser, Fraxel DUAL®, PicoSure® FOCUS Lens Array), chemical peels (light, medium, deep including the blue peel), dermabrasion, augmentation/fillers, excision and/or subcision, punch techniques, microneedling/rolling, injections (corticosteroids, interferon, 5-FU), cryosurgery, electrodesiccation and microdermabrasion. 

These are advanced techniques so be sure to get an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon consultation for recommendations and treatment options.

Alim R. Devani, MD, FRCPC
Calgary Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

I am looking for the right surgery and doctor to remove my acne scars. Any suggestions?

It's very difficult to get rid of the scars but they can be improved. Fractora is a radio frequency based treatment I use that can help improve the appearance of acne scarring and help stop active acne as well. The only way to know for sure if this will work is to book a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon that uses Fractora near you. Best of luck!

Mathew A. Plant, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Treatment of acne scars

A new cutting edge technique with the Precision TX laser can achieve 50-75% improvement with little to no downtime. It treats the undersurface of the skin in 15-20 minutes so there is no external healing. The results are quite impressive. 

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Treatment of moderately severe acne scarring

Thank you for your question.  I feel that in order to achieve best outcomes you should undergo a combination of surgical treatment of your scars, ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing, and possibly injectable fillers.  I do not feel that any single treatment is likely to produce optimal outcomes.  Best of luck.

Brian Biesman, MD
Nashville Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Acne Surgery

Thanks for your question and thanks for including the photos as well. You need to consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon in your area – or in your driving comfort zone (Philadelphia is not too far away) to learn the various options that are available to you. Have the procedure(s) close to home – just in case something is needed and you do not want to have to fly somewhere to get help.

In your situation, you can have fractional lasers. The non-ablative fractional lasers will help here, will require a series of treatments, with minimal downtime to give some very nice results. The ablative fractional lasers work faster, but have more downtime. Sometimes more than one treatment is needed with your kind of scarring. We also have the sublative RF fractional devices, the Syneron eMatrix and the Venus Viva that has shown great results in treating acne scars. We did a lot of the FDA work with the eMatrix and use it regularly in our clinic. The new Venus Viva is showing similar results. And now there are RF microneedling devices, such as the EndyMed Intensif, and this also works well. Most of the device websites have a find a physician site to help you find someone in your area who has these various machines.

As far as injections, Suneva’s BellaFill has recently received FDA clearance for acne scars – this has to be done by a very skilled injector but gives very nice results for acne scars.

Best of luck to you.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.