A keloid is a raised scar that can form after any kind of skin trauma. Once this type of scar has developed, it is not likely to heal completely without medical intervention, and can in some cases even become larger over time. At Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, we offer several treatment options that can significantly improve the appearance of raised scars and keep them from coming back.
Permanent Solutions for Raised Scars
The sooner you seek treatment for a keloid, the more likely you will be to achieve long-lasting results. This overgrowth of collagen that sometimes occurs during the skin’s healing process can be challenging to treat and is typically resistant to topical treatments. This is why it is important to work with skilled dermatologists such as Dr. Opeola and Dr. Cervantes, who can provide surgical or laser options; the gold standard for scar removal.
Surgical excision of a raised scar can be done under local anesthetic. During this procedure, the damaged skin is carefully removed and a compression dressing is applied. Dissolving stitches may or may not be used, depending on the size and location of the scar.
Meticulous follow-up care is critical to ensuring that the keloid does not recur during the healing process. It is important to note that surgery alone is often not enough to guarantee that a raised scar will not return. In-office follow-up treatments such as laser therapy or corticosteroid injections will likely be recommended. Patients will also receive detailed instructions for at-home care.
Depending on the severity of the scar, laser therapy may be used either as a first line of treatment or as a post-operative treatment to ensure that the scar does not return. Laser therapy is very effective at reducing the thickness and redness of scars, and some patients opt to use this treatment alone.
If used after surgical removal, the goal of laser treatment is to hinder any parts of the scar from raising or discoloring as the skin heals. This usually requires several in-office sessions to guarantee the best outcome possible.
Like laser therapy, corticosteroid injections can be used either as a primary scar treatment or as a follow-up treatment after surgical removal. These injections are applied directly to the wound site and can be very effective at reducing redness and inflammation. They can also help to flatten the scar and minimize the formation of new keloid tissue.
This is a popular scar treatment option as it tends to be the most minimally invasive approach and requires no downtime. The success of corticosteroid injections can vary depending on the complexity of the scar, but these are generally a good first line of treatment to try before resorting to surgery or laser resurfacing. They can also be used in combination with other treatments.
While topical treatments alone are not usually enough to completely reduce significant scarring, they can be very helpful during the early healing stages to improve the appearance of a scar and speed healing. There are numerous options that can be discussed with our expert dermatologists, who will be able to suggest the best topical treatments for at-home use.
Silicone-based products, such as gels and patches, can help to flatten and soften scar tissue over time. Ointments that contain Vitamin E, retinoids, or steroids can also be helpful, although it’s important to note that the efficacy of these ointments can vary dramatically from person to person.
Chemical Peels and Dermabrasion
While non-invasive treatments such as peels or dermabrasion are very good at smoothing out skin and removing discoloration, they do not go deep enough into the skin to remove significant keloid scarring. However, they can be an excellent post-surgical or post-laser option for helping to ensure that a scar does not return. They work by gently sloughing off the top layers of skin to reveal fresh, new skin below.
When To Seek Treatment for a Keloid
While it is important to work with us at the earliest stage possible to ensure the best healing outcome, it is also worth noting that a wound needs time to heal before scar treatment options can be evaluated. A fresh scar can look worse than it is and may heal sufficiently on its own with standard topical treatments. Our team will have suggestions for at-home care options to speed healing.
Once the initial healing phase is complete, if a scar is causing discomfort, functional issues (such as difficulty bending a joint), or is cosmetically bothersome, it may be time to look into more advanced treatment options. Dr. Opeola or Dr. Cervantes will monitor your scar closely to determine what type of intervention is needed, and the best time to schedule an initial treatment session.
You Don’t Have To Live With a Permanent Scar!
If you are concerned about an existing scar, wish to minimize the progression of a new scar, or want to ensure that a treated scar does not return, we are here to help. Contact us today at Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX so that we can evaluate your scar and determine the best course of treatment for you.