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Keloids in rural black South Africans. Part 1: general overview and essential fatty acid hypotheses for keloid formation and prevention.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Morphology, University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.


In the first part of this study a general overview on the hypertrophic scar and keloid phenomena regarding history, epidemiology, histopathology and aetiology, in general, together with an essential fatty acid approach as basis for hypotheses of keloid formation and prevention are given. Upon reviewing the literature in planning a strategy for prevention and treatment of keloids, one encounters an overwhelming amount of hypotheses on this topic. Based on a preliminary study on total fatty acid compositions in keloids, compared with normal skin of keloid prone and non-keloid prone patients, there can be argued as follows: an essential fatty acid deficiency of precursors and inflammatory competitors for arachidonic acid may be a factor in the multifactorial aetiology of keloid formations, and apart from a local essential fatty acid deficiency in the wound area, nutrition may also be a contributing factor in rural black South Africans. To confirm or refute the stated hypotheses of the role of essential fatty acids in keloid formation and prevention (outlined in this part of the study), dietary questionnaires and blood (plasma and red blood cell) phospholipid analyses for general information and true fatty acid intake and metabolism, respectively, in the diets of these patients (outlined in part II of this study), as well as a lipid model for keloid formations regarding phospholipids, triglycerides, cholesterol esters and free fatty acids (outlined in part III of this study), are given. The purpose of this comprehensive fatty acid study was an attempt to assess the enigma surrounding keloids and to end the nightmare of the plastic and reconstructive surgeon, since these dermal tumours are notoriously recurrent.

Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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