Keloids, an overgrowth of scar tissue, typically develop around a wound, scratches, body piercing or tattoos. They occur more commonly in people with darker skin. They are not cancers but they are difficult to treat permanently. Keloids are not contagious and typically occur within families.
What are Keloids?
Keloids occur when the body produces scar tissue to heal a wound. Once the wound itself is healed the body continues to produce unnecessary scar tissue beyond the border of the initial wound developing a keloid.
The underlying cause for keloids is not yet fully understood. A variety of factors may play a role including genetics, the immune system or hormones. Infections may increase the risk. One of the problems may be with fibroblast cells which produce collagen or scar tissue. The problem may be with the fibroblasts themselves or with chemicals that control their activity.
Keloid often run in families. People with darker skins, especially from African decent and a family history may develop keloid more commonly. They are not as common in older adults and usually occur in people 10 -30 years of age.
Keloids often develop about 3 to 12 month after a skin injury. At first the skin will feel rubbery beyond the border of the original injury as additional scar tissue develops. A burning sensation, itching and tenderness may be experienced. Not all keloids develop with an obvious skin injury. They occur most commonly in the cheek, shoulder, earlobe and chest area. Sometimes movement can be restricted if the keloid develops over a joint. Although initially red in color most keloids change to brown or pale. Keloids grow a various rates for a few weeks or month. Sometimes rapid growth may be experienced.
A qualified physician can diagnose and prescribe treatment options.
Keloid scars may or may not be treated depending on their location, size and personal preference. Although keloid scars usually do not disappear completely they may shrink over time. There is currently no treatment for keloids that is 100% effective. However there are a number of treatments available some of which may be used on combination.
- Pressure or occlusive dressings
- Laser treatment
- Interferon therapy
- Cytotoxic drugs
Can keloids be prevented?
Dr. Guarda has treated many patients with both surgical and non-surgical methods. Depending on your individual circumstances she may be able to remove the keloid, prescribe another treatment or refer you for additional treatment.
Surgical removal of keloids is most commonly performed by Dr. Guarda at her minor procedure room at the Harbour View Blvd. office in Northern Suffolk.
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