Dermatologic surgeon Suneel Chilukuri, M.D., has used microneedling in practice for about nine years to treat a variety of skin problems — from acne scarring to pigmentary disorders. Dr. Chilukuri tells Dermatology Times that he learned microneedling dos and don’ts from Cape Town, South Africa, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Des Fernandes, M.B.; B.Ch. F.R.C.S.(Edin), who in 1997 pioneered the process of needling the skin in order to regenerate skin.
Dr. Chilukuri, of Refresh Dermatology in Houston, weighs in on what physicians need to know about this treatment option, including plusses and minuses of devices on the market, FDA clearance, ideal candidates, how to incorporate microneedling into treatment regimens and how to avoid complications and potential liability.
Q. What do physicians need to know about microneedling technology and differences in microneedling devices?
DR. CHILUKURI: Microneedling, more formally called collagen induction therapy, uses a mechanical rather than a heat based mechanism to improve the skin.
It’s something that every dermatologist, aesthetic physician and even primary care doctor and pediatrician should have. It’s inexpensive and can help patients, no matter what their skin color. The entry point is low. The physician might spend $5,000 or $6,000 for the device. Each of the tips is around $39 to $49.
Microneedling treatment improves skin texture. By creating an inflammatory response with mechanical trauma, fibroblast activity is increased, thus improving collagen production.
Pediatricians and family practitioners can use it for patients with acne scars. Surgeons can use it post Mohs to smooth scarring and get better healing. In our office, our top uses for microneedling are to treat acne scars, textural changes and pigmentary issues.
Dr. Chilukuri has worked as a consultant and speaker for Alastin, Aerolase, Allergan, Bellus, BTL, Cynosure, Dominion Lasers, Eclipse, Galderma, InMode, Lutronic, Merz, PCA Skin, Sinclair, Sente, Skin Medica, Theravant, Under Skin and ZO Skin.