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Keloid Scar

After an injury, ever notice a scar that just won’t go away when you’re wound has healed? Ever curious what it is and why it’s just is?

The scar in question is a special scar called a keloid scar. Keloids are an overgrowth of scar tissue over a healed wound that may appear unsightly. This occurs when a person has a previous trauma that has extended beyond the injured area. They may appear as smooth and rounded skin elevations colored pink, purple or brown. They can sometimes feel itchy, tender or even uncomfortable and become doughy, rubbery or firm to the touch.

Usually, the scar results from injury to the skin such as insect bites, burns, body piercing, cuts, surgical incisions or even acnes but may form freely also. Still others have a genetic tendency to develop keloid scars. They are harmless though, non-painful and non-contagious but present a cosmetic problem.

The keloids can appear on any part of the body but mostly seen on the upper chest, on shoulders and the upper back. But if they appear over a joint, they can interfere with its functions. The symptoms for keloid formation include itchiness, unusual sensations, and pigmentation of the skin, redness and pain.

For treatment of keloids, the patient will be subjected to a series of injections in the form of corticosteroids on the scar to reduce its size, by application of topical retinoids or a sheet of silicone gel over the growth. Cryosurgery is another option that involves the use of liquid nitrogen but only suitable for small and lightly pigmented skin. This is sometimes combined with cortisone injections. There are however, reports of new scars forming on the site of the treatment. For those disfigured scars, a pulse dye laser treatment is done.

No keloid scar removal is available. Keloids will only be surgically removed and given x-ray treatments afterwards in severe cases. Sometimes electron beam radiation is also used as well as orthovoltage radiation which is more effective without any report of cancer forming over the years. The procedure is only very expensive.

To prevent keloid formation, those prone to this overgrowth should avoid cosmetic surgery. If surgery’s unavoidable, some precautions can be made by application of hypoallergenic paper tape for several weeks. Covering the wound with small sheets of silicone gel or through corticosteroid injections and even radiation treatments at the site of the wound during the healing period are helpful.