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Alternative Names Return to topHypertrophic scar; Keloid scar; Scar - hypertrophic
Definition Return to top
Keloids are the excess growth of scar tissue at the site of a healed skin injury.
Causes Return to top
Keloids occur from such skin injuries as:
They are fairly common in young women and African Americans. Keloids often run in families. Keloidosis is a term used when many or repeated keloids occur.
Symptoms Return to top
A skin lesion that is:
The lesion may itch while it is forming and growing.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin or scar. A skin biopsy may be needed to rule out other skin growths (tumors).
Treatment Return to top
Keloids often do not need treatment. They may be reduced in size by:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Keloids usually are not medically dangerous, but they may affect the appearance. In some cases, they may become smaller, flatter, and less noticeable over a period of several years.
Exposure to the sun during the first year after the keloid forms will cause the keloid to tan darker than the skin around it. This dark color may be permanent.
Removing the keloid may not be permanent. Surgical removal may cause a larger keloid scar.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if:
Prevention Return to top
You can prevent discoloration from sun exposure by covering the forming keloid with a patch or Band-Aid, and by using sunblock when spending time in the sun. Continue these extra protection measures for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adult, or up to 18 months for a child.
Imiquimod cream has recently been used to prevent keloids from forming after surgery, or to prevent keloids from returning after surgery to remove them.Update Date: 10/3/2008 Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.