A keloid scar is a raised, thick scar that grows over the edges of the wound. Sometimes itchy or irritated, this scar tissue can be red or darker than the skin around it. Keloids form when the body continues to produce scar tissue, consisting of a tough and fibrous protein called collagen, after the wound has healed.
While keloids can appear on any part of the body, the areas that are most susceptible are the earlobes, the shoulders, and over the breastbone. The darker your skin is and the younger you are, the more likely you are to experience keloid scars.
A common treatment for keloids involves injecting steroid-based medicine directly into the scar tissue. This reduces redness, itching, and irritation, and in some cases can also reduce the size of the scar.
If steroid treatment is ineffective, a surgeon can cut the scar tissue out and close the wound with stitches. This is commonly an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia. Most patients are fully recovered in a day or two, and the stitches can be taken out after several days. If the treated area is large enough, a skin graft can sometimes be used, although the site from which the graft was harvested can occasionally develop a keloid scar of its own.
Regardless of the treatment, keloids recur often, sometimes growing in larger than they were before. To discourage recurrence, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments to go along with surgery, including radiation therapy, steroid injections, and application of steroid medication during the surgical process.