Keloid Scars

keloid on ear

Surgery, piercings, and even injuries can create dark, puffy, irregularly shaped scars called keloids. This non-cancerous condition is usually due to genetics and the location of the wound. At the Centre for Minor Surgery (CFMS), our plastic surgeons are experienced in keloid scar treatment and removal to help Toronto patients feel more confident.

What are keloids?

Usually, a wound, cut, or surgical incision will heal with a scar that is more or less the same dimensions and shape as the wound itself with varying degrees of pigmentation and texture from person to person. Keloids, on the other hand, are variations in healing and scarring in which the scar seems to take on a life of its own, growing far outside the dimensions of the wound that caused it. The keloid scar is much larger, and more raised and pigmented than an ordinary scar and can be very cosmetically disfiguring.

One classic example of a keloid occurs after a simple ear piercing. A very large, nodular, and purple scar forms after a few months, which can be many centimetres in size and be of extreme concern to the patient.

What causes keloids?

Keloids are not tumours; they are scar tissue which—for genetic reasons—forms in an abundance and appearance that is undesirable. Certain ethnic groups, especially those with darker skin, are more genetically prone to forming keloids. Certain areas of the body are especially prone to forming keloid scars, including:

  • Earlobes
  • Midline of chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders

It is not uncommon for a person who has healed normally their entire life to later form a keloid from a cut or incision on one of these keloid-prone body areas.

How are keloids treated at CFMS?

Keloids are difficult to treat because they are the result of the patient’s body healing a wound in that area the way it is genetically programmed to do so. As such, if a cut or piercing leads to a keloid, the surgery done to remove the keloid will very often also heal with a keloid. Medical science has not yet figured out a way to “trick” the body into healing normally. The recurrence rate for keloids, even with the best treatments is therefore very high.

At CFMS, we generally treat keloids with a combination of surgical removal and follow-up cortisone injections. While treatments are often highly successful, there is always a strong and unpredictable chance of recurrence for any patient.

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To meet with one of the plastic surgeons at The Centre for Minor Surgery in Toronto, book a consultation using our online form or by calling (416) 663-9649.
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