Navigate Up

Men's Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Y
Z

Print This Page

Keloids

A keloids is a growth of extra scar tissue where the skin has healed after an injury. 

Alternative Names

Hypertrophic scar; Keloid scar; Scar - hypertrophic

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Keloids can form after skin injuries from:

  • Burns
  • Ear piercing
  • Minor scratches
  • Cuts from surgery or trauma
  • Vaccination sites

The problem is more common in people ages 10 to 20, and in African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. Keloids often run in families.

Symptoms

A keloid may be:

  • Flesh-colored, red, or pink
  • Located over the site of a wound or injury
  • Lumpy (nodular) or ridged
  • Tender and itchy
  • Irritated from friction such as rubbing on clothing

A keloid will tan darker than the skin around it if exposed to sun during the first year after it forms. The darker color may not go away.

Signs and tests

Your doctor will look at your skin to see if you have a keloid. A skin biopsy may be done to rule out other types of skin growths (tumors).

Treatment

Keloids often do not need treatment. If the keloid bothers you, the following things can be done to reduce the size:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
  • Silicone gel or patches

Many of these treatments can cause a larger keloid scar to form.

Expectations (prognosis)

Keloids usually are not harmful to your health but they may affect how you look. In some cases, they may become smaller, flatter, and less noticeable over time.

 

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop keloids and want to have them removed or reduced
  • You develop new symptoms

Prevention

When in the sun, cover a keloid that is forming with a patch or Band-Aid, and by use a sunblock. Continue follow these steps for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adult, or up to 18 months for a child.

Imiquimod cream can be used to prevent keloids from forming after surgery, or returning after they are removed.

References

Juckett G, Hartman-Adams H. Management of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(3):253-260

Romanelli R, Dini V, Miteva M, et al. Dermal Hypertrophies. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 98.



 

Updated: 11/20/2012

Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com