What is it and what causes it?
A keloid (also known as a keloidal scar) is the formation of scar tissue as a result of an overgrowth of collagen. This granulation tissue (collagen Type III) usually forms at the site of a previously healed skin injury and is then, over time replaced by collagen Type I.
Keloid formations may present as firm and rubbery or shiny, fibrous nodules, and their appearance can vary from pink or red to dark brown in colour. The lesion is benign and not contagious however in some circumstances may be coupled with severe itchiness, discomfort and changes in texture. In severe cases, it can result in poor movement of the affected area of skin or if infected, cause ulceration.
- For those patients with a known predisposition, prevention is always the best form of treatment. Preventing unnecessary trauma or surgery where possible is highly recommended, particularly procedures like ear piercing or elective mole removal. Any skin conditions in predisposed individuals should be promptly treated with an aim to minimise areas of inflammation, and consequently the likelihood of keloid scarring.
- More commonly, an intra-lesion injection with a corticosteroid can aid in the reduction of inflammation and reduce the risk of further keloid formation.
- Cryotherapy or cryosurgery is an application of extreme cold to the affected area. This simple method of treatment has shown results with least chance of recurrence.
- Surgical removal of the lesion is generally avoided due to the likelihood of recurrence, however laser treatment has also been found to have varying degrees of success.