Keloid scars are large scars which grow beyond the initial area of trauma. They are caused by an "exaggeration" of the normal wound healing process, specifically an overproduction of collagen after a wound has healed. These scars often appear raised, puckered and/or shiny and, in some cases, they may be itchy and even painful. Keloid scars may occur anywhere on the face or body but are generally found more often in areas with little underlying fatty tissue like the face, ears, neck, chest and shoulders. They are most common among certain ethnic groups including African Americans, Hispanics and Asians.
There are a variety of treatment options available including surgical excision. Excision may be combined with other therapies such as radiation and steroid injections to help decrease recurrence rates. Patients should be aware that surgical excision cannot entirely remove a scar but rather reduces its appearance.
Dr. Harris performs the keloid excision surgery at the Center for Aesthetic Modernism located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. This fully accredited surgical facility is convenient to all metro Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia areas. The surgery may be performed with local or general anesthesia. For a simple excision, the scar may be excised and closed in a more meticulous fashion, often using tension-reducing closure techniques like v-plasty and w-plasty. Other surgical techniques which may be used can include skin flaps and skin grafts which cover over an area of scar tissue that has been surgically removed, and z-plasty which relocates the scar to a more inconspicuous area such as within a natural skin crease or fold.
Recovery after keloid excision can include some discomfort, swelling, bruising and redness. Sutures are typically removed within a few days. A period of decreased activity will be necessary. It can take up to a year or more for the scar to fully mature and blend in with the surrounding tissue.