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Dermatol Surg. 1996 Jun;22(6):569-74.

Prevention of earlobe keloid recurrence with postoperative corticosteroid injections versus radiation therapy: a randomized, prospective study and review of the literature.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, USA.



Simple excision of earlobe keloids can result in recurrence rates approaching 80%. Many modalities have been suggested to reduce the risk of recurrence postoperatively, including intralesional steroids and radiotherapy.


In order to determine the most reliable method to prevent keloid recurrence, we have conducted the first randomized, prospective trial comparing corticosteroid injections versus radiation therapy.


Thirty-one keloids were treated and followed for a minimum of 12.0 months. Two of 16 keloids (12.5%) recurred after surgery and radiation therapy, while 4 of 12 (33%) recurred after surgery and steroid injections. No alteration of skin pigmentation, wound dehiscence, chronic dermatitis, or neoplastic changes was observed in any patient in either group. Although a statistically significant difference was not observed, radiotherapy appeared to be more effective than steroid injections in preventing keloid recurrence.


Radiotherapy is a simpler treatment modality with better patient compliance, and patients were much more likely to complete treatment than with corticosteroid injections. We believe that radiotherapy can play an important role in the prevention of earlobe keloid recurrences, and that with current techniques, complications can be minimized. Further randomized study with additional patients is needed to compare the effectiveness of corticosteroid injections and radiotherapy in preventing keloid recurrence.

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