21 May What are Keloid Scars and Can They Be Treated?
These types of scars are ones that most people seek a doctor’s advice on. Keloid is a type of scar that continues to grow in all directions and can be associated with symptoms such as pain, itchiness or tingling. When your body is injured, it attempts to heal the injury by responding with inflammation.
This physiological process usually does a good job of healing and minimising scarring at the injury site, provided there are no underlying medical conditions. But sometimes, things can go wrong and when this response to injury is exaggerated, it results in the formation of excess scar tissue for weeks, months or a year, which is when a keloid scar appears. Most of the scar tissue is made up of abnormal clumps of collagen, which are produced by a cell called a fibroblast. Normally, we want more collagen because it creates a more youthful appearance, but not this type of collagen.
So, why have you fallen victim to a keloid scar?
Well, there is no one answer for that, but rather multiple. It is known that keloid scars occur on some areas of the body more than others (eg. Ears, upper chest, breast, upper back and upper outer arms are higher risk areas). Also darker skin types, the degree of injury and whether there are other family members with similar scars are all risk factors for an increased incidence of keloid scarring.
Are they dangerous? Usually not, but they can be quite disfiguring and affect your self-esteem.
What is the best way to treat the keloid scar?
The first step is to have the scar examined by a specialist to confirm it is a keloid scar, then, develop the best treatment plan to remove the scar and reduce the probability of it recurring. Dr Ed Omarjee has been treating keloid scars for over 16 years using a wide array of options for the various presentations of keloid scars on different areas of the body.
Some of these options include applying silicone gel or patches to the site of scarring, pressure bandaging and injecting anti-inflammatory medication into the keloid to shrink it. This latter treatment requires monthly visits to achieve optimal results.
When keloids are larger, they usually need to be surgically excised under local anaesthetic to eradicate them, followed by anti-inflammatory injections. Occasionally, laser technology is utilised in the above treatments.
The worst thing you can do is ignore a keloid scar, as it will get larger and more unsightly.