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A keloid is a type of raised scar that forms from an overgrowth of tissue. UT Southwestern Medical Center offers several treatment options for keloids and conducts research about the causes of their formation.

Providing Individualized Treatment for Keloid Scars

Most keloids form at the site of a healed skin injury where the connective tissue cells continue to grow.

Unlike typical raised scars, keloids can expand beyond the original injury, and they can grow slowly for months or years. Keloids most often form on the chest, upper back, earlobes, and shoulders, but they can appear anywhere on the body.

Keloids occur in an estimated 10 percent of the population, and they are more common in those with darker skin, such as black, Hispanic, and Asian people.

Because keloids often run in families, researchers believe that genetics play a role in their formation. At UT Southwestern, we’re conducting extensive research on the genetic factors that cause keloids. Led by Donald Glass, M.D., Ph.D., the Genetic Causes of Keloid Formation Study is a registry of people affected by keloids and includes their families. Our goal is to collect samples and information so that we can develop better treatments and prevent keloids from forming.

Keloid Treatment Options

Keloids are not harmful and do not turn into cancer. However, they can be a cosmetic concern for patients. A keloid also can affect a person’s movement when it covers a joint or large area, and it can be itchy or painful.

Keloids can be difficult to treat, and successful removal often requires more than one treatment type. At UT Southwestern, we offer:

  • Surgical removal
  • Laser therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections, which can reduce itching and size of the keloids
  • Injection of other agents such as interferon, 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, or colchicine
  • Silicone sheets
  • Mechanical compression
  • Radiation therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing the keloid)