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Understanding Keloids

Keloids are raised, flesh colored nodules that develop at the site of an injury. After an injury has occurred to the skin, both skin cells and fibroblasts begin multiplying to repair the damage.

With keloids, the fibroblasts continue to multiply in an unregulated manner. Thus keloids project above the surface of the skin and form large mounds of scar tissue.

Keloids may form on any part of the body, although the lobule of the ear, upper chest, shoulders and upper back are especially prone to keloid formation. Symptoms may include itchiness, redness, unusual sensations and pain.

It is estimated that keloids occur in about 10% of people. While most people never form keloids, others develop them after minor injuries, even insect bites or pimples. Darkly pigmented people seem to be more prone to forming keloids. Men and women are equally affected.

Hypertrophic scars look similar to keloids but are more common. They don't get a big as keloids, and may fade with time. They occur in all racial groups.

Treating Keloids

Keloids are considered a benign tumor, but they are mainly a cosmetic nuisance and never become malignant. Operating on a keloid usually stimulates more scar tissue to form, so people with keloids may have been told that there is nothing that can be done to get rid of them.

However, at Chesapeake Bay ENT, we utilize a keloid treatment procedure that not only involves surgical removal, but also a series of follow-up steroid injections at regular intervals to prevent recurrence of the nodule. This treatment is effective for the majority of patients if they return at the designated intervals for the steroid shots.

Close follow-up monitoring is vital during immediate and aggressive treatment of subsequent keloid formation. Noncompliant patients are at risk for recurrence and must therefore be made well aware of the importance of close follow-up.