Cryotherapy for Keloids

Sometimes when a scar forms, it can continue to grow into is called a keloid. Keloids are benign growths that develop as a result of excess collagen formation. They can appear anywhere in the body but are most commonly found in or around the ears, chest, cheeks, and shoulders. Keloids are not inherently harmful to your physical health, but they can be unsightly and negatively impact your mental health and self-esteem. 

At The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center, Dr. Roberto J. Mendez and Dr. Gabriel Salloum offer a variety of proven solutions for keloid removal, including cryotherapy and combination therapies to minimize the appearance of keloid scars and lower the chance of regrowth. 

What Is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery or cold therapy, involves the use of controlled freezing temperatures to reduce or destroy abnormal or overgrown tissue. Evidence suggests that cryosurgery can be highly effective in the treatment of a number of issues, including tumors of the skin, cancerous and precancerous lesions, warts, hypertrophic scars, and keloids. 

Essentially, cryosurgery freezes tissue, causing keloid-forming cells in the area to die. The therapy usually involves using liquid nitrogen, argon, or carbon dioxide at temperatures as low as -320℉ or -196℃. Liquid nitrogen has been found to be the most useful for keloid cold therapy. Cryotherapy is only reserved for smaller keloids, like those seen after acne scars, and it tends to be most effective when the overgrown tissue is relatively new. Larger or older can be successfully treated with a combination of keloid removal surgery and superficial radiation therapy. 

Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery or cold therapy, involves the use of controlled freezing temperatures.
Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery or cold therapy, involves the use of controlled freezing temperatures.

Preparation & Procedure

Cryotherapy for keloid removal doesn’t require a whole lot of preparation on your part. However, although cryosurgery is considered a safe, minimally-invasive procedure, it is essential to find a licensed and experienced provider who has a track record of successfully treating keloids and scars, like the experts at The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center. This is because keloid tissue has a high recurrence rate (chance of coming back), and in some cases, it can return even larger than the original keloid. 

During keloid cryosurgery, your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to numb the area. Depending on its size and location, the provider may use both topical and intralesional cryotherapy, which involves inserting a thin cryosurgical needle in the keloid itself to administer liquid nitrogen and freeze the tissue from the inside out. Several sessions are typically needed for the best results. 

Like all medical procedures, there are some risks associated with cryotherapy. Although rare, side effects may include:

  • Damage to nearby tissue and blood vessels
  • Scarring
  • Blisters
  • Ulcers
  • Infection
  • Skin discoloration
  • It is estimated that as many as 50% of keloids will not become flat after cryotherapy, and many of them can recur

There is no downtime associated with intralesional cryotherapy for keloids. Following your treatment, your doctor will provide detailed aftercare instructions to help you care for the lesion and prevent the development of new keloid tissue at the treatment site. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the office at 1 (833) 453-5643.

No one is impervious to scars, which occur when the skin is wounded, and the body triggers a healing reaction to close the gaps created by the injury.
No one is impervious to scars, which occur when the skin is wounded, and the body triggers a healing reaction to close the gaps created by the injury.

Combined Treatments Yield the Best Results

No one is impervious to scars, which occur when the skin is wounded, and the body triggers a healing reaction to close the gaps created by the injury. Part of this biological process involves the release of collagen, the body’s most abundant protein, which, among other things, is responsible for creating and strengthening skin tissue. But when the body produces too much collagen, the new connective tissue can grow beyond the margins of the wound itself, forming a raised, hard lump. In individuals prone to keloids, the scar tissue can continue building up uncontrollably over the course of months or years, even after the original keloid is removed. 

Unfortunately, once keloids occur, they have a high chance of recurring every time the skin is injured, even if it is from keloid removal procedures. Since no single medical therapy has been shown historically to be 100% effective in the treatment of keloids, it is very common and recommended to combine different therapeutic modalities. At The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center, your doctor may recommend any combination of the following procedures:

Testimonials

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I had been battling keloids for about 15 years and had 4 previous surgeries. I had a very painful and discomforting keloid in my chest and another keloid in my umbilical area. As a result of one of the surgeries, to my disappointment, I lost my umbilicus. I cannot put into words how frustrated I was every time the keloids ... [Read more]

Before & After

Keloid Removal Before & After

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The combination of cryotherapy with other therapeutic approaches, such as corticosteroid injections, has proven to be a safe, painless, and efficient approach for shrinking small hypertrophic scars and keloids. If you wish to learn more about cryosurgery for keloids or other non-invasive treatments offered at The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center, please call 1 (833) 453-5643 or fill out our online Contact Us form

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes keloids?

Keloids form as a result of an abnormal and uncontrolled healing reaction. Any sort of skin injury can lead to a keloid, including:
• Piercings and tattoos
• Cuts, scrapes, scratches, and bumps
• Insect bites
• Surgical wounds
• Burns
• Hair removal
• C-sections
• Chickenpox scars
• Acne scars

Who is at risk of developing keloids?

While anyone of any age, race and ethnic background can develop keloids, the following individuals have been shown to carry a higher risk:
• People under the age of 30
• People of Black African, Caribbean, Asian, and South Indian descent
• People with a personal or family history of keloids

How much is cryotherapy for keloids?

The cost of keloid cryotherapy varies depending on the size and extent of the keloid, the number of sessions required, and more. During your initial consultation at The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center, our team can let you know what the expected cost of your keloid cryosurgery sessions will be and let you know about the payment options available to you.

Is cryosurgery for keloids covered by health insurance?

Because keloid removal is considered by some health insurance companies to be a cosmetic procedure, it is not generally covered by health insurance. 

Is cryotherapy painful?

No, cryotherapy for keloids doesn’t hurt. However, you may feel an unpleasant cold sensation at the treatment site. Your doctor can administer numbing cream or a local anesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable. 

Do keloids grow back after cryotherapy?

Some keloids may grow back even after successfully removing them with cryotherapy. Therefore, combining two or more approaches is generally the best course of action to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. 

How many cryotherapy sessions are needed for keloids?

It can take three or more cryotherapy sessions to successfully flatten a keloid. 

Can keloids go away on their own?

No, unlike other types of scars, keloids do not go away or reduce in size on their own. Evidence shows that keloids can continue growing for months or years after the initial lesion or injury. 

Come See Us

We Love Out Of Town Patients!

Our doctors have treated patients with keloids, not only from the U.S. mainland but from all over the world.

There are many hotels and restaurants around Mt. Sinai Medical Center that you may consider to make your stay while getting treated.  Internationally known and respected, Dr. Mendez and Dr. Salloum are experts in keloids.  Their professionalism and passion to meet your needs are second to none.

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