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Clin Anat. 2007 Jan;20(1):3-14.

The keloid phenomenon: progress toward a solution.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Division of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.


For centuries, keloids have been an enigma and despite considerable research to unravel this phenomenon no universally accepted treatment protocol currently exists. Historically, the etiology of keloids has been hypothesized by multiple different theories; however, a more contemporary view postulates a multifactoral basis for this disorder involving nutritional, biochemical, immunological, and genetic factors that play a role in this abnormal wound healing. Critical to the process of preventing or managing keloids is the need to locally control fibroblasts and their activities at the wound site. In recent years, considerable evidence has accumulated demonstrating the importance of fatty acids and bioactive lipids in health and disease, especially those involving inflammatory disorders or immune dysfunction. If hypertrophic scarring and keloid formation can be argued to have significant inflammatory histories, then it is possible to postulate a role for lipids in their etiology and potentially in their treatment. This report briefly visits past views and theories on keloid formation and treatment, and offers a theoretical rationale for considering adjuvant fatty acid therapy for keloid management. Sufficient scientific evidence in support of fatty acid strategies for the prevention and treatment of keloids currently exists, which offer opportunities to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the clinic. The intent of this paper is to serve as a basic guideline for researchers, nutritionists, and clinicians interested in keloids and to propose new directions for keloid management.

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