Heart surgery is one of the most common procedures in the US today, with over half a million surgeries performed every year. Unfortunately, keloids or hypertrophic scars are one of the most common and long-lasting side effects of coronary bypass surgery. Keloids are raised, fibrous, and ridged scars that become visible after the healing process following surgery. Excess amounts of the protein known as collagen in the skin result in the formation of keloids.
Why Do Cardiac Surgery Keloids Form?
Keloids are a type of scar that results from an abnormal wound-healing response to skin trauma or injury. They are fairly common, affecting about 10% of the population. Anything from a minor cut or scrape to an open heart surgery wound can lead to the development of a keloid. Moreover, keloid scars can happen anywhere in the body, but those who are prone to keloids usually get them on the upper chest, earlobes (especially after they have been pierced), neck, and shoulders.
Post-heart surgery keloid scars can grow far beyond the initial surgical wound. Some of them are itchy, but they are rarely painful. In appearance, keloids can look thick and raised lumpy, flesh-colored, red, purple, or bright pink. And while surgical scars are not generally harmful to your physical health, they can cause quite a bit of emotional distress and may negatively affect your self-image and self-esteem.
Everyone can develop keloids, but some populations carry a high risk than others:
- Patients under 30 years of age
- People of Black African, South Asian, or Caribbean descent
- Patients undergoing open-heart surgery
- People with a personal or family history of keloids
Types Of Open Heart Surgery Scars
Heart surgery can leave prominent scars that can cause significant emotional distress – especially if said scar later develops into a keloid. Any of the following heart surgery scars can turn into a keloid in at-risk individuals.
- Median sternotomy scar – can measure anywhere between 8 to 11 inches and runs from the top to the bottom of the sternum.
- Pacemaker scar – about 2 inches long, just below the collarbone.
- Posterolateral thoracotomy scar – right below the tip of the shoulder blade, measuring about 6 inches
- Anterolateral thoracotomy scar – about 6 inches long, runs from below the shoulder blade toward the front or side of the chest
- Axillary scar – right below the underarm, can measure up to 3 inches
BEFORE & AFTER GALLERY
Natural & Unparalleled Results
Surgeries performed by renowned plastic surgeon Roberto J. Mendez M.D. and double
board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gabriel Salloum in Miami Beach, FL
Best Treatment For Post-Heart Surgery Keloids and Scars
Keloid formation following cardiac bypass surgery can cause a significant amount of discomfort and pain. Thankfully, there are effective options for treating and removing keloids to help address these issues. At The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center, we offer a variety of non-surgical and surgical options for the treatment of post-heart-surgery keloids. Dr. Roberto Mendez and Dr. Gabriel Salloum are board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons who specialize in the treatment of scar tissue.
Keloid removal surgery
Typically reserved for larger keloids, the excision procedure is an invasive surgery that involves carefully cutting out the keloid or excess tissue. Since this method involves creating a new incision on the skin, it has a high recurrence rate when performed on its own. The doctors at The Keloid Plastic Surgery Center recommend combining the surgical removal of keloids with one or more of the following treatments.
Superficial radiation therapy (SRT)
Since keloids are types of scar known as non-malignant tumors, radiation therapy is an appropriate option to treat them. SRT is one of the safest and most effective solutions for the treatment of post-heart surgery keloids and other complex scars.
Intralesional steroid injections
Intralesional injections deliver medication directly into the keloid to reduce its size. This treatment modality is usually combined with surgical excision of the keloid to lower the chances of recurrence.
Also known as cryosurgery or cold therapy, this therapeutic approach to treating surgical scars involves applying liquid nitrogen at freezing temperatures to destroy keloid-forming cells. If you want to avoid invasive procedures, this scar treatment may be a good option because of its faster recovery after a session.
What our Patients say
Why Choose Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mendez?
Why Choose Plastic Surgeon Dr. Salloum?
Last modified by Dr. Gabriel Salloum