Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Keloids

 

Definition

Keloids are the excess growth of scar tissue at the site of a healed skin injury.

Alternative Names

Hypertrophic scar; Keloid scar; Scar - hypertrophic

Causes

Keloids occur from such skin injuries as:

  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Chickenpox
  • Ear piercing
  • Minor scratches
  • Surgical cuts
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Vaccination sites

They are fairly common in young women and African Americans. Keloids often run in families. Keloidosis is a term used when many or repeated keloids occur.

Symptoms

A skin lesion that is:

  • Flesh-colored, red, or pink
  • Located over the site of a wound or injury
  • Lumpy (nodular) or ridged

The lesion may itch while it is forming and growing.

Signs and tests

Diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin or scar. A skin biopsy may be needed to rule out other skin growths (tumors).

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Keloids usually are not medically dangerous, but they may affect the appearance. In some cases, they may become smaller, flatter, and less noticeable over a period of several years.

Exposure to the sun during the first year after the keloid forms will cause the keloid to tan darker than the skin around it. This dark color may be permanent.

Removing the keloid may not be permanent. Surgical removal may cause a larger keloid scar.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop keloids and want to have them removed or reduced
  • You develop new symptoms
Complications
  • Cosmetic changes that affect the appearance
  • Discomfort, tenderness of the keloid
  • Irritation from rubbing on clothing or other forms of friction
  • Limited mobility (if the keloids are extensive)
  • Psychological distress if the keloid is large or disfiguring
  • Return of the keloid
Treatments

Keloids often do not need treatment. They may be reduced in size by:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • External pressure
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
Prevention

You can prevent discoloration from sun exposure by covering the forming keloid with a patch or Band-Aid, and by using sunblock when spending time in the sun. Continue these extra protection measures for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adult, or up to 18 months for a child.

Imiquimod cream has recently been used to prevent keloids from forming after surgery, or to prevent keloids from returning after surgery to remove them.


Images
Keloid above the ear Keloid, pigmented Keloid, on the foot
Read More

Review Date: 10/3/2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access

Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000