Keloids on the ear are scar tissue caused by damage to the skin. As a defense mechanism our body attempts to heal the damage by generating collagen fibers (scar tissue).
Flat keloids are noticeable scars on the earlobe. Severe keloid scars are known as hypertrophic. They are raised fibrous nodules ranging in size. Left untreated, they can be itchy, painful and different in texture. The condition is common in younger and dark-skinned individuals.
The most common cause of keloids on the ear are piercings. Individual factors contributing to keloids include:
The condition affects populations of all ages and can begin as early as puberty. Although medical research and studies note the condition appears in darker skin pigments more often, the condition can develop in all skin tones.
• Keloids have a genetic element, increasing your risk for development.
When the healing process is interrupted by inflammation or infection, scar tissue develops into large protrusions or bulges. Your need to see a doctor as soon as the inflammation develops to avoid large and uncomfortable growths. The doctor may prescribe ointments or steroid injections to help reduce the inflammation and further infection.
If there’s a family history of this condition, be sure to share the information with the doctor. In some families the genetic properties may cause an increased risk of keloid recurrence preventing surgical removal.
Pay attention to your body, the appearance of keloids is noticeable at the site of injury during the early stages of development (three weeks). Symptoms of keloids on the ear are swelling, itching and inflammation before the larger growth becomes visible.
For the most part, keloids are not dangerous to your health. They can be unsightly and cause you discomfort or embarrassment.
Normal biological skin repairs happen systematically. Keloids form with connective tissue expanding its growth beyond the original injury site. As time progresses, the scar tissue will continue to grow, reaching a level of disfigurement. It may take weeks or months before you see the effects after an infection or trauma occurs to the ear.
A specialist physician or surgeon needs to treat keloids on the ear. They may begin with taking a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The purpose is to remove the possibility of skin growth or tumors. During the examination, the injury site and the surrounding skin areas are assessed to identify the best form of treatment. Once the evaluation is complete, and the risks are identified to prevent or reduce recurrence, your doctor will schedule the procedure.
Depending on the maturity of the keloid and the patient’s age and health, the most effective treatment is to surgically remove the larger growth and repair the skin. The procedure is an in-patient process, restoring the aesthetics of the ear. If recurrence is an issue for the individual, the doctor may prescribe therapy to prevent it.
The doctor uses a local anesthesia with minimal post-operative pain for shorter recovery. For adults or children, once the doctor exams the after-surgery progress – you can return to normal daily activities.
There are other procedures for very large keloids and family history conditions contributing to this disorder. It’s important to talk with your doctor and discuss the options so that you understand the risks involved with surgical and medical treatments.
Liquid nitrogen will freeze ear keloids reducing the risks of recurrence.
Depending on the cause of the disorder and the individual, the doctor may use one or a combination of treatments for keloids on the ear.
Medications are used to restore and sustain our health. Left unmonitored even the simplest form can cause harm.
1. Are keloids on the ear contagious?
Keloids on the ear are not contagious. For most individuals the disorder is not harmful to your health. This condition does have its own level of increased risks associated with family history and genetics.
2. Do I need to see a doctor?
Only a doctor can make the correct diagnosis – so yes. If the keloid causes discomfort or pain unrelated to cosmetic issues it may be necessary to remove the keloid from the ear.
3. Are there preventions for keloids on the ear from piercing?
It’s impossible to determine when piercing will instigate the development of keloids. Studies show an increased risk linked to genetics and specific populations. The ailment is common among all genders and some ethnic groups are more susceptible. If you are concerned, talk with your doctor before proceeding with the piercing.
4. Can keloids on the ear develop on other body parts?
Yes. The process of scarring is a biological function with the potential to form anywhere an injury occurs on the body. The disorder appears most commonly on the chest, shoulders, stomach (midsection), back and ears.
5. What’s the importance of removing keloids on the ear?
Keloids can become abnormal growths. Only a doctor can determine the best procedure for removal to prevent further complications. If the disorder is related to cosmetics, a specialized surgeon can restore the symmetry of the ear’s appearance. In some cases, reconstructive procedures are needed.
6. I’ve had a raised scar on my ear for years with no change. It’s cosmetically uncomfortable, what are the chances of removing the keloid?
Keloids, unlike other skin scars, don’t fade or regress over time. It’s essential for a doctor to exam the area before determining which form of treatment will work best for you.
7. Can there be an underlying condition causing keloids on the ear?
Keloids are usually triggered by piercing or another type of ear injury. It’s important to talk with the doctor to confirm the diagnosis. It’s rare, but other health syndromes affecting keloids exist. Medical conditions linked to the formation of keloids include Goeminne syndrome - a genetic disorder.