When your skin is injured by an accident or surgery, a scar develops as your tissues heal. Most scars become less noticeable over time, but for some people, the scar tissue can grow abnormally, developing into keloids or hypertrophic scars.
These scars aren’t dangerous to your health but can become unsightly, detracting from your physical appearance. And in some cases, they can cause physical discomfort or affect normal body functions.
Fortunately, our board-certified dermatologists at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, specialize in removing these difficult-to-treat tissue growths. From conservative therapies to the latest in scar tissue treatment, our team has the right solution for you.
Keep reading to learn what you need to know about keloids and hypertrophic scars and how we can help you remove them.
Understanding keloids and hypertrophic scars
Keloids are raised, thickened, and irregular scars that grow beyond the area of the original wound. They are often itchy, tender, and can cause cosmetic changes to your appearance.
These problematic scars are caused by an overproduction of collagen during the healing process. You can develop a keloid after any injury, including surgery, acne, piercings, immunizations, or burns. Sometimes keloids grow without any apparent cause.
Keloids come in different colors but often have a smooth and shiny appearance. Unfortunately, these tissues can keep growing over time and may cause additional symptoms like pain, itching, and sensitivity.
Hypertrophic scars are also caused by excessive collagen during healing, and these raised red scars can grow very thick. However, unlike keloids, these scars remain the same size as the triggering wound and often improve over time.
These thick, elevated scars can be tight, tender, or cause itchiness or discomfort. They are more likely to form in areas with increased skin tension.
While anyone can develop keloids or hypertrophic scars, some people are more likely to get them than others. Factors that increase your risk include:
- Having a family history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring
- Having genetic factors that affect the healing response
- Having a darker skin tone (more melanin)
- Being in adolescence or early adulthood
- Having a pre-existing inflammatory skin condition
In addition, certain hormonal factors, like pregnancy, can increase the risk of developing these types of scars, as can having a wound in an area with increased skin tension, like the chest, earlobe, joints, or shoulders.
Treating keloids and hypertrophic scars
Properly treating your keloid or hypertrophic scar depends on several factors, including previous treatments. The goal of treatment is to minimize how the growth affects your appearance and any functional problems it causes.
Since no “one-size-fits-all” treatment exists, our team creates a personalized keloid or hypertrophic scar treatment plan to meet your unique needs.
Surgical excision with SRT
For some people, surgical removal (excision) with superficial radiation therapy (SRT) may effectively remove keloids or hypertrophic scars. This two-step treatment involves removing the scar and closing the wound using as little tension as possible.
During step two, our team administers low doses of radiation to destroy the cells growing into keloids or thick scars. Recent studies have shown high success rates without adverse side effects or medical complications.
When surgical excision with SRT isn’t a good option and other treatments haven’t worked, our team may offer a new therapy using tumescent lidocaine epinephrine (TLE) with intralesional Kenalog (K).
Intralesional Kenalog is an injectable corticosteroid that helps break down scar tissue.
The TLE solution numbs the treatment area and constricts the surrounding tissues' blood vessels. That keeps the Kenalog injection localized, increasing the potency and effectiveness of the treatment.
In addition, our team administers smaller amounts of the Kenalog instead of one large dose. That allows for a more even and thorough distribution of the corticosteroid across the treatment zone to provide optimal results.
Every scar is unique. Get personalized recommendations for your keloid or hypertrophic scar by scheduling a consultation online or over the phone at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, today.