Scars come in many different varieties. Many patients suffer from Keloid scarring following a surgical procedure. Keloid scars grow at the wound site, beyond the border edges of the wound. They tend to be thick and rounded, and appear in irregular clusters of red (or darker) scar tissue. The scars form when the body overproduces collagen after the wound has healed.
The scars can develop anywhere on the body, and are five to fifteen times more likely to occur in patients with darker skin tones, as well as those with a family history of keloid scarring. They’re also extremely common—approximately 10% of the world’s population (around 700 million people!) suffers from keloid scarring.
Those who are prone to keloid scarring should avoid body piercings and tattoos, and should be fastidious in the care of their skin. Even minor injuries (like insect bites, small cuts, and acne) can lead to keloid scarring, so sufferers should be vigilant in protecting themselves.
Though there isn’t a simple cure for keloid scarring, there are many treatment options available to reduce their appearance. Up until very recently, surgical intervention was considered to be a good option for sufferers of keloid scarring. However, one of the major issues with this method is that the surgical scars could cause more keloids! Patients may want to consider nonsurgical treatments, including Inteferon therepy (a drug intervention that affects the immune system), antihistamines and vitamins, nitrogen mustard applications, Verapamil (an L-type calcium channel blocker), and Retinoic acids (a trace nutrient derived from Vitamin A). Patients should be advised that, even with treatment, keloid scarring tends to reappear (with a 50-70 percent rate of recurrence). External radiotherapy and steroid drugs are both viable options with higher success rates, but can cause side effects, so patients considering these options should consult with their doctor before proceeding.