Scars develop when the skin is damaged or injured in some way, whether due to an accident or during surgery. There are many different types of scars. Some remain flat and stay within the bounds of the injury, while others continue to grow and can become raised and prominent. One type of raised scar is known as a keloid scar, which can become very large over time and cause significant cosmetic issues or discomfort. Dr. Gabriel Salloum performs keloid removal at his practice in Miami Beach, FL to help minimize the appearance of keloid scars and to increase his patients’ overall confidence.
What Are Keloids?
Keloid scars are raised scars, or hypertrophic scars, that develop when scar tissue continues to grow after an injury has healed. Some people are more prone to developing keloids than others. There are higher rates of keloid scars in African-American people than in people of other ethnicities. The scars also tend to develop in people who are between 10 and 30 years of age.
A defining feature of a keloid scar is that the tissues continue to grow even after the initial wound has healed. Keloids usually become visible several months after a skin injury occurs. The scar tissue can then continue to grow for years afterward.
Keloid scars are often a different color than a person’s skin and may be red, purple or pink. Typically, the edges of the scar are darker than the middle. The scar itself might feel rubbery and hard to the touch or it might feel like dough. In some cases, the scars are itchy or painful.
What Causes Keloids?
Skin injuries that cause scarring can lead to the formation of keloids. Scar healing can be difficult to predict. Why some people develop keloids and others don’t isn’t yet fully understood. Some injuries that can lead to keloids include:
- Ear and body piercings
- Surgical incisions
- Insect bites
In certain instances, a person might develop a keloid scar spontaneously, without sustaining an injury.
Ways to Remove Keloids
Treatment for keloids can range from steroid injections to laser therapies and from radiation therapy to surgical removal. In some cases, applying silicone sheets to the scar can be an effective treatment option.
Some people see acceptable results after a single type of scar treatment. Others see the best results from combining more than one type of keloid treatment.
Who Is a Candidate for Keloid Removal?
If you have a history of keloids and your scars are bothering you, then you might be a candidate for keloid treatment. Since there are multiple ways of treating keloids, your best option is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Salloum to learn more about the various treatment options available and to determine which one is right for you.
Your Consultation for Keloid Removal
During a keloid removal consultation with Dr. Salloum in Miami Beach, the doctor will review your medical history, ask you about the location of your scar or scars, and examine the scar itself. He will then discuss the different types of treatments available, such as radiation or laser therapy, and will help guide you to the treatment that is likely to provide the best results.
Feel free to ask Dr. Salloum questions during your consultation. You might want to ask about what to expect from the treatment itself, as well as what you can do in the future to prevent the recurrence of keloids. Also, be prepared to have Dr. Salloum ask you questions about your history of scarring and your medical history.
How to Prepare for Keloid Removal
Before your keloid treatment, Dr. Salloum will give you instructions to help you prepare for the procedure. Since the treatment is performed in-office and requires very little downtime afterward, it’s likely that you will not need to make many changes to your lifestyle or do much to prepare your home for recovery in advance of the treatment.
The Keloid Removal Procedure
At the Miami Center for Plastic Surgery, keloid removal is typically a two-part, outpatient process. Dr. Salloum performs surgical removal in the office. The entire treatment typically takes about one hour.
During the first stage of the treatment, Dr. Salloum will surgically excise the keloid scar. Depending on the size of the scar and your preference, he might give you a local or general anesthetic during the surgery.
Surgical removal of a keloid usually is not enough to keep the scar from returning. In fact, when surgery is performed on its own, it’s very common for the scar to grow back. For that reason, Dr. Salloum usually recommends combining surgical excision with radiation therapy. Radiation therapy often begins immediately after the scar is removed.
Radiation helps to reduce the chance of keloid recurrence. Like surgery, radiation therapy can be performed on its own, but often provides the best outcome when combined with another treatment. Dr. Salloum uses the latest, most advanced technology at his practice to help reduce the risk of recurrence.
Recovery After Keloid Removal
Very little downtime is required after treatment to remove a keloid. How much time you need to take off from work and other activities will depend on the type of treatment you’ve had. Dr. Salloum can provide you with a better idea of what to expect after your treatment as well as specific instructions to follow that will help improve your results.
Caring for the Skin After Scar Removal
Although it can be difficult to predict whether or not a keloid will return, there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of recurrence following scar removal. Protecting the treated area from the sun is essential. Cover up the area and be sure to use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to reduce damage from the sun’s rays.
Putting pressure on the treated area, such as with a silicone sheet or gel, can also help to prevent the recurrence of a scar. Covering the treatment area with petroleum jelly can also be effective.
Frequently Asked Questions About Keloid Removal
Surgical removal of a keloid scar is an in-office procedure that usually takes less than one hour. Radiation therapy following surgery is also usually brief, although some people will need multiple radiation sessions.
Dr. Salloum will use anesthesia when surgically removing a keloid scar. The anesthesia might be local, meaning that only the treatment area is numbed, or it might be general, meaning you will be completely asleep during the treatment.
Yes, there is a risk of recurrence after a keloid is removed. When performed on its own, surgical excision of keloids seems to have the highest rate of recurrence. For this reason, surgery is usually combined with another treatment, such as laser therapy or radiation therapy, to improve results and to reduce the likelihood of the keloid returning.
Although surgery is a treatment option, it is not the only solution for keloid removal. Other treatments include steroid injections, cryotherapy (freezing the scar), applying compression, and covering the scar with silicone sheets.
Surgery to remove a keloid usually has few risks and a low rate of complications. There is a risk of infection after the surgery. Dr. Salloum will give you instructions to help you minimize the chance of infection.
Steroids can help to shrink the size of a keloid scar. Usually, a person receiving corticosteroid injections for a keloid will receive one injection every three or so weeks. Typically, around three or four injections are needed in total. Although steroids can reduce the size of the scar and make it softer to the touch, the keloid often returns a few years after treatment.
No, keloids are not a type of skin cancer. There is no chance that a keloid scar will develop into skin cancer. It is worth noting that in some cases, a keloid can be confused with certain types of skin cancer or that cancer can be mistakenly identified as a keloid. For that reason, a surgeon is likely to biopsy any keloid scars that look suspicious, to rule out the chance of cancer.
How can you prevent keloids?
If you are prone to keloids or have had them in the past, there are things you can do to try to prevent the scar tissue from forming in the future. You might want to avoid surgery that isn’t absolutely necessary, and forgo piercings and tattoos if possible. If you do need to have surgery, you can reduce the chance that keloids will form by covering the incision area with a silicone sheet after surgery. You might also consider radiation therapy, laser therapy or steroid injections to keep a keloid from forming after surgery or an injury.
At the Miami Center for Plastic Surgery, in Miami Beach, Fl., Dr. Gabriel Salloum combines the use of a state-of-the-art radiation machine with surgical excision to remove and reduce the recurrence of keloid scars. To learn more about the treatment and to discuss your options for getting rid of keloids or preventing them from returning, call 305-405-6910 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Salloum today.