Keloid, also known as keloid disorder and keloidal scar, is the formation of a type of scar which, depending on its maturity, is composed mainly of either type III (early) or type I (late) collagen.
Signs and Symptoms:
Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules, and can vary from pink to the color of the person's skin or red to dark brown in color. A keloid scar is benign and not contagious, but sometimes accompanied by severe itchiness, pain, and changes in texture. In severe cases, it can affect movement of skin.
It is a result of an overgrowth of granulation tissue (collagen type 3) at the site of a healed skin injury which is then slowly replaced by collagen type 1.
True incidence and prevalence of keloid in United States is not known. Indeed, there has never been a population study to assess the epidemiology of this disorder. In his 2001 publication, Marneros stated that “reported incidence of keloids in the general population ranges from a high of 16% among the adults in Zaire to a low of 0.09% in England,” quoting from Bloom’s 1956 publication on heredity of keloids. Clinical observations show that the disorder is more common among sub-Saharan Africans, African Americans and Asians, with unreliable and very wide estimated prevalence rates ranging from 4.5-16%.
The best treatment is prevention in patients with a known predisposition. This includes preventing unnecessary trauma or surgery (including ear piercing, elective mole removal), whenever possible. Any skin problems in predisposed individuals (e.g., acne, infections) should be treated as early as possible to minimize areas of inflammation.
Treatment of a keloid scar is age dependent. Radiotherapy, anti-metabolites and corticoids would not be recommended to be used in children, in order to avoid harmful side effects, like growth abnormalities.
In adults, corticosteriods combined with 5-FU and PDL in a triple therapy, enhance results and diminish side effects.
Further prophylactic and therapeutic strategies include pressure therapy, silicone gel sheeting, intra-lesional triamcinolone acetonide (TAC), cryosurgery, radiation, laser therapy, IFN, 5-FU and surgical excision as well as a multitude of extracts and topical agents.
Surgical excision is currently still the most common treatment for a significant amount of keloid lesions. However, when used as the solitary form of treatment there is a large recurrence rate of between 70 and 100%.
Cryotherapy or cryosurgery refers to application of extreme cold to treat keloids. This treatment method is easy to perform and has shown results with least chance of recurrence.
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