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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Keloids

Hypertrophic scar; Keloid scar; Scar - hypertrophic

Last reviewed: November 20, 2012.

A keloids is a growth of extra scar tissue where the skin has healed after an injury. 

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Keloids can form after skin injuries from:

  • Burns
  • Ear piercing
  • Minor scratches
  • Cuts from surgery or trauma
  • Vaccination sites

The problem is more common in people ages 10 to 20, and in African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. Keloids often run in families.

Symptoms

keloid may be:

  • Flesh-colored, red, or pink
  • Located over the site of a wound or injury
  • Lumpy (nodular) or ridged
  • Tender and itchy
  • Irritated from friction such as rubbing on clothing

A keloid will tan darker than the skin around it if exposed to sun during the first year after it forms. The darker color may not go away.

Signs and tests

Your doctor will look at your skin to see if you have a keloid. A skin biopsy may be done to rule out other types of skin growths (tumors).

Treatment

Keloids often do not need treatment. If the keloid bothers you, the following things can be done to reduce the size:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
  • Silicone gel or patches

Many of these treatments can cause a larger keloid scar to form.

Expectations (prognosis)

Keloids usually are not harmful to your health but they may affect how you look. In some cases, they may become smaller, flatter, and less noticeable over time.

 

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

Prevention

When in the sun, cover a keloid that is forming with a patch or Band-Aid, and by use a sunblock. Continue follow these steps for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adult, or up to 18 months for a child.

Imiquimod cream can be used to prevent keloids from forming after surgery, or returning after they are removed.

References

  1. Juckett G, Hartman-Adams H. Management of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(3):253-260. [PubMed: 19621835]
  2. Romanelli R, Dini V, Miteva M, et al. Dermal Hypertrophies. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 98.
  3.  

Review Date: 11/20/2012.

Reviewed by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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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 endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, 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 endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

What works?

  • Silicone gel sheeting for preventing the development of hypertrophic and keloid scars and for treating existing hypertrophic and keloid scarsSilicone gel sheeting for preventing the development of hypertrophic and keloid scars and for treating existing hypertrophic and keloid scars
    Silicone gel sheeting is a soft, self‐adhesive sheet that is applied to intact skin. It is thought to prevent the development of new abnormal scars and also to treat existing scars. This review aimed to assess the evidence on whether silicone gel sheeting prevents the development of abnormal scars in people with newly healed wounds or if it is an effective way to treat existing abnormal scars. Most of the studies identified were of poor quality and it is unclear whether silicone gel sheeting helps prevent abnormal scarring, or is effective in treating existing abnormal scars.
See all (2) ...

Figures

  • Keloid above the ear.
    Keloid, pigmented.
    Keloid, on the foot.

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