Treatment Options for Keloids
Surgical Removal of Keloids
Keloids can be surgically removed by carefully excising scar tissue from the area using a sharp instrument. Often, additional treatments such as radiation therapy are recommended to significantly reduce the chance of recurrence.
Combined Surgical Removal & Postoperative Superficial Radiation Therapy
One of the most effective ways of minimizing keloid scars is to combine surgical excision with superficial radiation therapy. The treatment involves performing the surgical excision first, followed by the application of radiation therapy. This combined approach can prevent keloids from reappearing in up to 90% of patients.
Superficial Radiation Therapy (SRT)
Superficial radiation therapy after surgical removal cures up to 90% of keloid scars. Unlike full-fledged radiation therapy, superficial therapy uses radiation that usually doesn’t go beyond 5 mm below the skin’s surface to keep the area surrounding the keloid intact.
Cryotherapy improves the appearance of keloids by subjecting them to sub-zero temperatures in a safe and controlled environment. Exposing the keloid to freezing temperatures promotes natural anti-inflammatory responses in the body that can drastically improve the appearance of keloid scar tissue.
Intralesional steroid injections deliver corticosteroids deep into the keloid tissue to reduce inflammation and lessen scar formation. The procedure is performed using intradermal injections so that no dents, cuts, or scrapes are created, preventing the formation of new keloids.
Compression therapy involves the application of controlled pressure to the targeted area. As a result, lesions and scars gradually heal. The treatment is personalized based on the size, age, location, and extent of the keloid. Types of compression therapy include compression bandaging, compression hosiery, and anti-embolism stockings.
Creams & Ointments
Certain creams and ointments can minimize keloid scarring. Two of the most commonly-used creams for treating keloids are Imiquimod and Tretinoin. Imiquimod is often recommended to patients who have undergone surgical excision or radiation therapy as it prevents keloids from coming back. Tretinoin speeds up the natural cell turnover of the skin and effectively reduces the visibility and size of keloids.
Silicone Gel Pads
Silicone gel pads are recommended for patients who want to minimize keloid scarring without having to undergo invasive procedures. Gel pads can drastically decrease the size of keloids and have properties that prevent keloids from resurfacing. This safe and effective treatment is usually recommended for patients prone to keloids who’ve recently undergone a surgical procedure. The pads help the wound retain moisture and maintain appropriate oxygen levels to flatten the scar and lessen discoloration.