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Dermatol Surg. 2006 Mar;32(3):380-6.

Successful treatment of earlobe keloids with imiquimod after tangential shave excision.

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The Clinical Center of Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Virginia 22033, USA.



The treatment of earlobe keloids has historically been suboptimal; characterized by discomfort, poor response, and high rates of recurrence. Keloids are characterized by increased fibroblast activity in the setting of an altered cytokine profile.


To investigate whether topical imiquimod 5% cream applied postoperatively after tangential excision can prevent recurrence of earlobe keloids.


Four patients with a total of eight large pedunculated earlobe keloids (five of which were recurrent lesions) were treated with debulking by tangential shave excision followed by daily application of imiquimod 5% cream for 6 weeks.


At 6 and 12 months post-treatment there was an excellent cosmetic result and no evidence of recurrence in any of the lesions. Patients with keloids that were itchy and painful were completely asymptomatic at the conclusion of the study.


In this pilot study, imiquimod 5% cream following tangential shave excision was efficacious for the treatment of earlobe keloids. Further study is warranted to confirm the utility of imiquimod 5% cream in the treatment of earlobe keloids, as illustrated herein.

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