What causes a keloid scar on the ear?
Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that can be caused by any minor trauma or injury to your skin. They often appear after ear piercings. As wounds heal after piercing, fibrous tissue starts to develop and overgrow instead of normal scar tissue. In some individuals body makes excessive scar tissue which leads to formation of keloids on the ear. This scar tissue starts to spread out from the original wound, causing a keloid to become larger than the original piercing. Keloid scars on the ear typically begin as small round bumps around the piercing site. Sometimes they develop quickly within few weeks, but usually they appear several months after piercing and may continue growing slowly for the next few months.
Who gets them?
While anyone can develop a keloid scar on the ear, some people are more predisposed to develop them.
Risk factors are:
- Ethnicity – people with darker skin tones are more likely to have keloids.
- Genetics – Individuals with family history of keloids.
- Age – keloid scars on the ear are more common in young adults.
What are the best treatments to remove keloids?
The most successful ways to remove keloid scars on the ear are Cryodestruction (deep internal freezing) and Surgery followed by Superficial Radiation Therapy (SRT).
- These methods are described below:
Cryodestruction is an innovative unique technique that enables to freeze keloids from the inside out with liquid nitrogen without creating additional scar tissue. The freezing of liquid nitrogen causes a thermal effect that destroys keloid cells. With no risk of worsening the scar, and a 97% success rate. Cryodestruction effectively treats most scars on the ear in one or two treatments usually spaced 6 weeks apart. You will see at least 50 to 80% improvement after one treatment. Pain, itching and discomfort associated with keloid markedly improved after the first treatment. The procedure is done under the local numbing with minimal discomfort. Skin discoloration may occur in the site of the treated area. Unfortunately, not all keloids are suitable for Cryodestruction. Keloid’s size, texture, and shape need to be evaluated to determine if it is a suitable option.
Surgery combined with Superficial Radiation Therapy (SRT) can successfully remove a keloid scar on the ear and prevent it from creating a new scar. Surgical removal alone can create a new scar, that will l develop into a keloid in about 70% of the cases. Often bigger than the original keloid. Therefore, typically keloids need to be treated with radiation therapy within 24 to 48 hours post surgery to prevent regrowth. SRT is a highly effective keloid removal treatment with a cure rate of 94%.
Additional treatments such as corticosteroid injections may slightly decrease the size of the keloid, however there are higher chances of regrowth. It typically requires several treatments spaced three to four weeks apart.
Can keloids be prevented?
There are no current remedies to completely prevent keloid on the ear however these tips help to reduce the risk. If the skin around a piercing start to thicken or itch, this might indicate keloid is forming. Seek treatment early. If you’ve ever had an ear keloid, don’t pierce your ears again. If you know that you get keloids and you need surgery, be sure to inform your surgeon. They may be able to use special techniques to reduce your risk.Take good care of any new piercings or wounds. Keeping the wound clean can reduce your risk of scarring. Use a silicone patch or gel after getting any new piercings, or wounds.
With new advances in technology, today we have highly effective treatment options with excellent success rate so you don’t have to go through life with this difficult condition. See a keloid specialist to discuss what treatment options are best for you.