It’s hard to make it through life without developing scars here and there. From small kitchen accidents to skinned knees from childhood, most men and women have a few stories to tell about the scars on their bodies. That doesn’t mean that everyone is happy about it, of course. Scar removal is becoming more and more popular as treatment options are refined. Keloid scars are a special classification of scarring that can also be addressed through plastic surgery. Learn more about keloid scars to determine if you have experienced them and what you can do to correct them.
What Are Keloids and What Causes Them?
Generally speaking, a keloid is a type of scar formation almost completely comprised of collagen. Keloid scars often result from an overgrowth of granulation tissue that slowly becomes collagen. They appear rubbery and shiny, feel firm and smooth, and appear to be an overgrowth on the body. Keloids are benign and do not pose any serious health threats, but will often grow beyond the site of the injury. Many patients with keloid scars experience severe itchiness, dull to moderate pain, and tightness of the skin that can affect movement.
Although an exact cause is unknown, keloid scars can form under certain circumstances as a result of many factors, such as:
- Age. Children and the elderly are less likely to develop keloid scars.
- Heredity. A tendency to form keloids seems to run in families.
- Piercings. Body piercings, especially on the earlobes, have caused an increase in keloid scar formations.
- Location. Keloid formation most often occurs on the chest, back, shoulders, and earlobes. They are much less typical on the face.
- Ethnicity. Keloids form 15 times more often among ethnic patients who have highly pigmented skin than in Caucasian patients.
If you think you might have a keloid scar, it is best to consult with a plastic surgeon who specializes in scar treatment and removal. A hyertrophic scar can appear like a keloid scar but will not grow past the boundaries of your original wound. An expert opinion is necessary to determine which type of scar you have and what treatment option is best for you.
Can Keloid Scars Be Prevented?
Once keloids form, the removal process must involve a medical professional. For most people, it’s much wiser to avoid getting a keloid scar in the first place. Is it possible to prevent keloids? Some doctors agree that prevention of keloids is a possibility, if you know what to do. Avoiding large incisions and injuries is your first defense, but this is sometimes impossible to predict. When you are injured, seek medical care to treat your wounds properly. Care for the area afterwards, avoiding any further irritation or inflammation. Have your stitches removed when your doctor advises you. Don’t leave foreign materials beneath the skin, such as splinters. While there is no exact prevention for keloids, caring for your body and paying attention to improper healing can minimize the effects of a keloid scar.
Do Keloid Scars Need to Be Removed?
While many patients might experience keloid scars, not every one of them will opt for removal. Each case should be evaluated individually to assess whether keloid removal will be helpful to that patient. In many cases, chronic itching and irritation will accompany a keloid, making it very distracting to that patient. For others, keloids can lead to cosmetic problems and disfigurement, as well as the psychological trauma that comes with embarrassment.
How Are Keloid Scars Treated?
The treatment methods chosen for your keloid scar removal may depend on many factors including its location, its size, and more. Several types of treatment are available today, all of which can be extremely effective in removing or reducing a keloid scar. Bear in mind that many keloids will leave behind a mark on the skin, even if the collagen excess is removed.
Cortisone injections can treat keloids in four to eight weeks and can be a safe option that is not very painful. Surgery is often required for larger keloids, but may pose a risk to the patient. Cutting a keloid can make it spread even farther, so this may be a last resort option. Laser treatments for keloid removal area are also highly effective for reducing redness of the area and flattening the skin again. Talk to your facial plastic surgeon about other keloid treatments and what could be the best choice for you.
Consult With a Plastic Surgeon About Your Scars
Explore your options for scar removal by contacting an experienced facial plastic surgeon who can offer you these and other treatment options. Let Dr. Sheldon S. Kabaker guide you through the process to plan the right procedure for you. As the San Francisco Bay Area’s most experiences Aesthetic Facial Plastic Surgeon and Hair Transplant Specialist, he is both the founder and director of California’s longest standing office surgery facility and the past president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine before serving in the US Army Medical Corps and seeing active duty in Vietnam. Dr. Kabakerhas become the world’s leading authority on hairline lowering surgery as well as an internationally recognized authority on facial plastic surgery and hair/scalp reconstruction surgery. Today, he serves as the AAFPRS fellowship director of young facial plastic surgeons while delivering satisfactory results to his patients. To book a consultation with Dr. Kabaker, contact his office located at 3324 Webster Street in Oakland, California by calling (415) 379-9015.