Our friendly and knowledgeable Dr. McGann has posted another blog for me. I asked her if she would be kind enough to post a blog about keloids. I thought this could be important for people who are prone to getting them – and for those who are possibly facing a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, or a lymph node biopsy. Do you get them? I do. Not on every scar, just on random parts of my body – and thankfully not on my mastectomy scars. I get them from surgeries and from skin cancer biopsies and removal. Now I have one starting on my port scar and on my lymph node biopsy scar – isn’t that weird, those scars are over 4 years old! Thank you Dr. McGann for your two-part series on keloids.
“What is that behind your earlobe?” Are you brave enough to ask? What if that “thing” is located on other parts of the body? Can something be done about what? Will discuss over the next 2 weeks. First, let’s discuss what that abnormal growth actually is…
A keloid is the formation of a type of scar tissue that can occur at the site of skin injury or previous trauma. The injury can be that of surgery, ear piercing, tattoos, trauma from shaving, etc., A hypertrophic scar looks similar to a keloid and are more common. However, hypertrophic scars do not get as big as keloids, and may fade with time – Keloids do not fade away!
- Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules, and can vary from pink to the color of the patient’s flesh, or red to dark brown in color.
- A keloid scar is benign (non-cancerous) and not contagious
- Keloids can be associated with severe itchiness, pain, and changes in texture.
In severe cases, and depending on location, it can affect movement of skin. A large keloid in the skin over a joint may interfere with joint function. Unfortunately, keloids tend to grow and extend beyond the area of initial trauma and become unsightly and uncomfortable.
- Keloids are equally common in women and men, although more women developed them because of a greater degree of earlobe and body piercing among them.
- Keloids are less common in children and the elderly.
- People with darker skin are more likely to develop them, but keloids can occur in people of all skin types.
- Keloid scars are seen 15 times more frequently in highly pigmented ethnic groups than in Caucasians.
Doctors do not understand exactly why keloids form in certain people, or situations and not in others. The best way to deal with a keloid is not to get one (really *smile*).
A person who has had a keloid should discuss with physicians before undergoing elective or cosmetic skin surgeries, or procedures such as piercing. When it comes to keloids, prevention is crucial, because current treatments leave a lot to be desired.
Next week – Keloid Treatments
Ipsa Scientia Potestas est ——— Knowledge itself is power!
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Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!