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Keloid Scars

A keloid is a growth that happens where the skin has healed from a cut or other injury. It can be painful and itchy and look different from a normal scar. A person can have single or multiple keloids.

Keloids are more common in people with dark skin. They can also be familial i.e. if a member of your family has a keloid you may e more likely to develop one.

Keloids can form after an injury or procedure that breaks the skin. This can include:

  • Piercing – Tof the ears or another part of the body.
  • A cut that gets infected or leaves a scar
  • Acne, after the pimples heal
  • Surgery – A keloid can form in the scar.
What are the symptoms of a keloid?

A keloid can look like a lumpy growth and by definition extends beyond the edge of the scar.

They may itch, and/or cause sharp or shooting pains when pressed.

Keloids are most common on certain body parts. These include:

  • Ears
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Chest, shoulders, and upper back
Should I visit the London Head and Neck Clinic?

Yes. If you have a new growth on your skin Mr Andi will assess the area. Keloids are not cancer. But some skin growths are cancer and Mr Andi will be able to check.

Are there any test for keloids?

No. There are no tests. Mr Andi will make a clinical diagnosis based on your history, signs and symptoms.

How are keloids treated?

There are several treatment options which will be based on your needs.

  • Giving an injection (steroids) into the keloid – This can make the area flatten out.
  • Surgery to excise the keloid. This will be followed up by further steroid injections to reduce the chances of recurrence.
  • Pressure earrings – These are special earrings that press on the holes after you get your ears pierced. They could help stop keloids from forming when the holes heal.
  • Radiation – This treatment uses high doses of X-rays. It is sometimes used after surgery to prevent the keloid from coming back.
  • Laser treatment – This treatment uses strong light to destroy keloids.
  • ECT – electrochemotherapy is a new technique which shows promising results.

Keloids can be hard to treat. They often come back after treatment. Combined treatment such as surgery, steroids and pressure dressings work better than just a single treatment.

Can keloids be prevented?

Yes. You can lower your chances of getting keloids by:

  • Not having surgery or procedures that break the skin, if possible. For example, you can:
  • Avoid getting your ears or other body parts pierced
  • Avoid having surgery to take off a mole (unless Mr Andi explains you need surgery)
  • Treating acne or a cut right away.
  • Not shaving your neck – This can irritate pimples and make them form keloids after they heal.
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