Support Surgery Research 1.877.262.4628 Text Size


What is Dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is sometimes called dermaplaning. It is a surgical skin refinishing procedure which softens irregularities in the skin in order to achieve a smoother appearance. Dermabrasion can also be an effective treatment of skin conditions such as acne scars, fine wrinkles, or facial scars caused by surgery or injury.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dermabrasion?

Candidates must be in good health, have no active diseases or serious, pre-existing medical conditions, and must have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery. Dermabrasion is most commonly used to treat acne scarring. It is also done after surgery to make scars less noticeable. It is recommended you wait at least 8 weeks after your surgery before considering this procedure. Dermabrasion can also be used to remove tattoos.

NOTE: You may not be a candidate for surgery if you smoke, have recently quit smoking, or if you are exposed to second-hand smoke. Primary and secondary smoking decreases blood flow to the body's tissues. This can result in prolonged wound healing, skin loss, infection, increased scarring, and a number of other complications depending on the kind of procedure performed. Click here for more information related to smoking.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The surgeon gently moves a high-speed rotary wheel over the treatment area, causing the imperfection to be worn away. Dermabrasion can be performed on small areas of the skin or on the entire face. Depending on the circumstances, the procedure can last a few minutes or take up to an hour with additional sessions to follow.

After dermabrasion, the skin will be tender and will appear to have a red brush burn or shallow wound. This will heal over a period of weeks.

Other Procedure Options

During your initial consultation, your surgeon may recommend alternatives to dermabrasion. This will depend on your skin type, condition, and your desired results. Alternatives include a chemical peel, using a caustic solution to remove affected skin layers; or laser skin resurfacing, using a laser to remove layers of damaged or wrinkled skin.

List of Physicians Who Perform Dermabrasion

For details about education, experience, and specialty in this clinical area, please visit these physician profile pages:

Planning for Your Surgery

First, schedule a personal consultation with your plastic surgeon. Communication is vital in reaching your goals. You will have the opportunity to discuss your goals and the results you'd like to achieve. Your surgeon will work with you to reach an understanding about what you can expect from this procedure and what long-term benefits you will experience. Every patient is different, and your surgeon will choose the surgical technique and treatment plan that is right for you. During your initial consultation:

  • Provide a complete medical history, including information about previous surgical procedures; past and present medical conditions; and any medications or herbal supplements you are taking.
  • Expect your surgeon to conduct a complete physical examination.
  • Be prepared to discuss possible risks and complications of the procedure.

Preparing for Your Surgery

You will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for your surgery. A pre-operative information packet will be provided that explains everything you should do and know before your surgery date. Your surgeon will instruct you on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and which vitamins and medications should be taken or avoided. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis. You may also want to make arrangements for someone to help you out for a day or two after you leave the hospital.

Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed

Your procedure will take place in the University of Michigan Hospitals' state-of-the-art surgical suites and recovery areas. The majority of these procedures are completed on an out-patient basis.

Types of Anesthesia

In most cases, a local anesthesia will be injected into the area to keep you comfortable throughout the entire procedure. For large areas of Dermabrasion, sedation or general anesthesia may be used.

After Your Surgery

Click here for information about how to care for yourself after the surgery and what to expect during your recovery. It is very important that you follow your surgeon's instructions. This will promote healing and improve progress towards your new physical appearance. Also, it is important that you attend all scheduled follow-up appointments so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

For adult appointments, please call 734.998.6022