This 21-year-old patient had a large growing uncomfortable lump on her left outer-ear. She had a routine ear piercing with a stud 1 year prior. She had noticed some discomfort and a small lump develop around the ear piercing after 3 months post insertion. She had no relevant past medical history and no issues with other piercings she had prior in other sites of her body. She removed the piercing when the lump continued to grow and cause itchiness and discomfort at most times.
Despite removing the piercing, the lump grew to a large size. It is then that she seeked Dr Ed Omarjee’s assistance. She was medically assessed, and her lump was deemed a keloid scar which was active. She underwent a minor surgical procedure to remove the large keloid scar from her ear, whilst trying to maintain her normal ear anatomical shape. This was a painless procedure performed under local anaesthetic. Her lump was confirmed to be a keloid scar by histopathology. The patient then had regular anti-inflammatory injection-based treatments for several months to minimize the risk of recurrence of her keloid scar.
Keloid scars are a relatively common medical issue that occurs when one’s body exaggerates the healing response (“inflammation”) to an injury (e.g. ear piercing, acne, scratch, insect bite, etc) to the skin and produces excess scar tissue at the specific site for an unknown period of time (months to years), leaving a random growing haphazard shaped lump that can be painful, itchy and unsightly. The goal of treatment is to remove the mass (keloid scar tissue), but also to “turn off” the scar producing cells (e.g., Fibroblasts), to prevent recurrence of the keloid scar.