Keloid scars are considered by the medical community as some of the most gruesome and, unfortunately, the only ones that no plastic surgeon, no matter how good he or she is, can make disappear. Basically, if you think of this surgery as a plastic surgery, the chances of complete success are minimal. However, by keeping your expectations low, the keloid removal surgery might actually surprise you. How is that possible? Well, the answer is simple: your ear, your face or whatever part of your body has been affected by the terrible scars will look, depending on the chosen method of treatment, as close to perfect as they ever were. Sadly, that does not mean, under any circumstances, that after the surgery, you can forget all about the keloid scars, since they tend to come back with a vengeance, requiring another scar removal operation and, after that, another one.
There are many types of keloid scar removal, the surgery being the least indicated of them. While some people might argue that the reason to not undergo such a procedure is purely financial, there are other things to take into account, as well. Why financial mention? Health insurance companies believe that the keloid removal surgery is strictly a cosmetic procedure, thus they do not reimburse it. Alas, the actual price of this particular operation is rather high for a normal person, with a nine – to – five job.
Even leaving the financial side behind, things do not look all that good when considering a classic facial scar removal surgery. For one, the chances that the keloid scaring could make a reappearance are very high. The theory says that these keloids are masses of cells that multiply chaotically until they form a defined bump on the skin. Usually, the guilty cells appear on the new tissue, formed right after a surgical intervention, planned or unplanned. Which, of course, leads to the idea that another surgery will cause another keloid to appear. This might seem a bit over the top and paranoid, but it has been proven, through painful trial and error, that the keloid scars that appear after a patient has undergone a keloid removal surgery are bigger than the original ones.
In theory, the surgery can be repeated as often as it is needed and the patient should enjoy anything from a few months to a few years of keloid – free skin. However, most physicians will not even consider recommending their patients more than two keloid removal surgeries, since this particular medical procedure is very damaging to the integrity of the skin, even more so if it is repeated. The important thing to remember, however disheartening it might sound, is that the keloids will always come back if you have not managed to get rid of them from the first try.
The actual physical procedure of the removal is simple: the surgeon will cut out the scar, will perform some sort of remodelling work and will allow the skin to heal on its own. In recent years, after physicians have discovered new methods of stopping the keloids from growing back after they have been destroyed, some side procedures have developed:
- Cortisone injections: right after the scar tissue has been removed, the surgeon will inject cortisone in the area surrounding the wound. This will help with the healing and will stop the cells from multiplying again.
- Radiation therapy: unfortunately, just like its name says, radiation therapy is not exactly the best of choices. However, in small doses and used only once in a lifetime, it holds no side effects and will stop the growth of the keloid cells.
- Laser surgery: it is getting closer and closer to actually replacing the classical forms of surgery. Its success rate is higher and the reappearance rate of the keloids is significantly lower.
All this being said, both the advantages and the disadvantages should be taken into consideration before undergoing a keloid removal surgery. The patient must be as informed as it is possible so that he or she will consent or deny the operation based on actual judgments and not hearsay.