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July 1995

Therapeutic Dermabrasion-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Hospital 330 Brookline Ave Boston, MA 02215

Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(7):850. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690190106025

My recent editorial regarding dermabrasion was intended to provide an overview of the procedure and briefly discuss its current applications. Although one might presume that dermabrasion of tattoos would routinely lead to scarring, Clabaugh1,2 showed in his study of dermabrasion of 250 tattoos that good-to-excellent results were found in 85% of cases. Only four cases of scarring were observed. These results have been corroborated by the clinical experience of clinicians who have performed hundreds of these procedures (J. Yarborough, MD, and W. Clabaugh, MD, oral communication, November 1994). With the technique of superficial dermabrasion, no attempt is made to mechanically remove all pigment from the dermis. After performing shallow planing, most of the pigment exits the skin through transepidermal elimination and as well by engulfment by phagocytes. Dermabrasion does allow excellent direct visualization of anatomic depth. Pinpoint capillary bleeding, the landmark of the papillary dermis, is not visible after

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