All of us, irrespective of how careful we are would have suffered a wound or two. We have all fallen, attended to our wounds and waited for them to heal. Almost all injury gets healed leaving behind a scar which is the result of repair and healing that our body facilitates. After an injury, a scar is formed due to the growth of fibrous tissues that protect the site of injury. A normal scar would like the one below.
But in some cases, there can be hard growth from the site of injury like the below.
At times, the healing process can leave a lump of tissue that protrudes from the site of injury. This is referred to as a keloid scar. So what exactly is a keloid scar and how does it form? There can be aggressive repair of the wounded site which results in extra growth of scar tissues which forms smooth surfaced but hard growths. Keloid scars can sometime be larger than the wound itself.
Keloid scars can be hard on the patients since it can bring down their confidence. If these scars are in regions such as the face, ear, neck or arms, it does get easily noticed and stared at. Dealing with keloid scars would be tough depending on how large they are. Keloid scars on the face often cause the most worry among patients. These scars can be easily removed without having it impact one’s life and confidence.
Symptoms of a keloid scar
Some of the most common signs of a keloid scar includes:
- An outgrowth of tissue at the sight of wound
- Grows with time
- Pinkish or red in colour and smooth to touch
- Can get larger with time
- Can be itchy
- Can cause discomfort from clothing
- Can cause discomfort in movement
Causes for keloid scars
These types of scars are most common when the wound is deep or large. If the patient has had burns, deep cuts or injuries, severe acne, chickenpox scars or surgical wounds, the chances of developing a keloid scar can be higher.
Keloid scars vs hypertrophic scars
Hypertrophic scars are a type of scar formation post injury that has deposits of collagen which can result in an outgrowth over the wound. These outgrowths are not as large as the keloid scars and causes lesser discomfort. In most cases, the hypertrophic scar can get flattened and go away on its own. But on the other hand, keloid scars can grow bigger over time and cause discomfort.
Keloid scar treatment options
Wondering how to get rid of keloid scars? There is different treatment option that aims at flattening or removing the scar.
- Laser Treatment
Laser therapy is used to treat keloid scars by softening and reducing the size of the keloid. Pulsed Dye Laser or PDL is commonly used to achieve this. Laser treatment can reduce the thickness of the scar and improve the mobility. It can also reduce the itching, dark colour and pain.
Keloid scar removal can be achieved by cryotherapy. This is a technique of using extreme cold to freeze the tissues. It reduces the size and makes the keloid soft.
- Corticosteroid Shots
Injections such as corticosteroid is injected on the keloid and used to shrink the scars. At least 50 to 80% of the patient notice considerable difference and shrinkage of the scars. However, this isn’t a permanent solution and the scar can regrow.
- Keloid Surgery (Surgical Removal)
Keloids can be surgically removed by a dermatologist. Often this procedure is followed by a technique such as laser therapy, corticosteroid shots or cryotherapy in order to prevent scarring after the surgery.
- Radiation treatments
Radiation therapy is used to treat and prevent the formation of keloids post a surgery. Keloids that are surgically removed are followed with a radiation treatment to prevent the reoccurrence of keloids. It can also help in reducing the size and hardness of the keloids.
Keloid scar removal treatments mainly aim at reducing all the symptoms such as itching, pain and the size of the keloid. A dermatologist would be the best judge on the right treatment based on the patient’s keloid scar. For small scars, the cryotherapy can be an apt choice. Corticosteroids and laser treatments can also give a long lasting result by diminishing the size of the keloid.
Keloid removal costs
The cost of keloid removal treatments starts at the price of INR 2k for corticosteroid injection. Other forms of treatment such as cryotherapy or keloid removal surgery could cost INR 10 to 25k and could go upwards. The exact costs of the treatment can be obtained from a cosmetic surgery center or the dermatologist’s clinic. Prices can also vary depending on the city, clinic, doctor’s charges, type of treatment and related hospital charges.
It is extremely important to get treated by a board certified and experienced dermatologist to avoid any complications or risks.
Things to take care while deciding on a keloid scar removal procedure
- The results of a keloid scar removal will depend on the skill and expertise of the dermatologist. It is very important to choose the right doctor for the right results.
- It is important to have a thorough discussion with the doctor, disclosing all the medical history and person’s health condition to make the right treatment choices.
- A healthier and stress-free lifestyle must be adopted before and after the treatment.
- Arrangements such as a person to drive back from hospital and to help with recovery must be arranged.
- Patients must get protected from harsh sunlight before and after the treatment.
- It is important to quit smoking and alcohol and take the necessary supplements and medications before and after treatment.
- Patients must get back to older routine and daily activities, only after consultation with the doctor.
- Since keloid treatments are mostly done for cosmetic reasons rather than medical, these costs are not covered by insurance. The patient must be well informed of it and make choices accordingly.
Gone are the days when one had to tremendously worry about huge scars on the face or arms. Today, treatment for these scars are easily available and the results are proven. Patients must make informed choices to help them lead a happy life without having to be bothered about keloid scars or any other forms of scarring.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do keloid scars go away?
Keloid scars do not go away completely without treatment. Keloid scars grow with time and often stop on its own, but they do not disappear or go away completely. Though not harmful, medical attention is needed if the keloid scar hinders movement or causes itching or discomfort.
- How do you remove a keloid?
A keloid is removed by various techniques such as surgical removal or keloid surgery. Other methods such as silicone sheets or gels are used on the scar to help it decrease in size. Cryotherapy, corticosteroid shots or laser therapy are suggested to improve the condition.
- Why do people get keloids?
At times, when people meet with injuries or wounds that are deep, it leaves behind a keloid scar. When tissue grows aggressively it outgrows the scar region and forms a large keloid that can be bigger than the wound.
- What is inside a keloid?
Keloids are formed of fibrous or granular tissues. They can be filled with fibrous nodules nad appear smooth and shiny.
- Are keloids permanent?
Yes, keloids are permanent and does not go away on its own. Most keloids grow to a certain extent and stop on its own. However, they will remain at that size and would go only with a keloid scar treatment.
- How much does it cost to remove keloid?
Keloid scars can be removed or treated with around INR 3.5k. Other forms of keloid treatment could cost up to INR 25k or cost higher.
- Does massaging a keloid help?
Gentle massage on the wounds could prevent keloid or hypertrophic scars. An existing keloid scar could get softer with massage.
- How long do keloids last?
Keloids can last for more than a few years. Keloids grow for a short duration and then stop by itself but they do not disappear or go away on its own.
- How do you stop a keloid from growing?
Proper hygiene of the wounded region can help prevent a keloid scar formation. Gentle massage once the wound has healed can stop a keloid from growing.
- Are keloids genetic?
Keloids could run in families but not all of them are due to genetic reasons. Some keloids are formed depending on the type of wound (such as burns, surgery and others) and how severe it is.
- What is the best treatment for keloid scars?
Injections of corticosteroids, laser treatments and cryotherapy are said to work well for treating keloid scars.
- How do you get rid of a keloid fast?
Keloids can be removed or treated by procedures such as cryotherapy, surgical removal and others. The best option for the patient can be decided by the dermatologist.
- How do you stop a keloid from spreading?
Silicone gel bandages can help to stop the keloid from spreading. Proper hygiene and care of the wound could help prevent and stop a keloid from spreading.
- Why is keloid so itchy?
Keloids can be itchy since the skin expands and causes irritation. Moreover, irritation from clothing can also lead to itching.
- Can you permanently remove a keloid?
Keloids can be permanently removed by surgery and other treatment options such as radiation therapy, cryotherapy, laser treatment and others. At times, keloids can reoccur in the sight of the injury.
- How do you flatten a keloid scar?
A keloid scar can be flattened by using methods such as silicone gel bandages, cryotherapy, laser treatment, injections such as corticosteroid, and radiation treatments.