A keloid is an overgrowth of scar tissue that occurs at the site of a skin injury or inflammation e.g. surgery, burn, acne and chickenpox infection. It typically appears as a raised reddish growth that grows beyond the size of the original injury. It may sometimes be irregular in shape and tends to enlarge progressively for 6 to 12 months.
Keloids are most commonly found on the chest, shoulders, back of the neck, jawline areas, earlobes, arms and upper backs. The main concern of keloids is usually the cosmetic appearance. Keloids can also be painful, itchy or cause a burning sensation. If the keloid stretches across a joint, it may also cause restriction of movement.
Keloids occur more commonly in women as well as in predisposed individuals. It is a result of abnormal and exuberant wound healing. High skin tension at the wound-healing site plays an important role to keloid formation. It most often occurs following surgical and non-surgical wound healing e.g. open-heart surgery, ear lobe piercing; however, inflammatory skin conditions like acne, chickenpox and vaccination reaction may also induce keloid formation.
The optimal result for treating keloids is if you start treatment soon after the keloid appears. Commonly used treatments include the application of silicone gel sheets, steroid injection, liquid Nitrogen therapy, laser therapy, surgical excision and radiation therapy. Dr Wong Soon Tee has learnt the relevant surgical techniques on keloid management and surgery from Japanese plastic surgeon, Dr Rei Ogawa.
In patients with a higher risk of developing keloids, non-essential surgery should be avoided as far as possible, especially in sites where keloids occur commonly. Where surgery cannot be avoided, then good surgical technique should be adopted to minimize the occurrence of keloids.
A small keloid on the abdomen
A bigger keloid on the left shoulder
Multiple chest keloid from acne
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