What Is a Keloid Injection?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A keloid injection introduces medication into an area of overgrown scarring to shrink the excess tissue. The treatment of choice is typically steroid medications, although other drugs may be used in some cases. It can be a highly effective approach to keloids, although several follow-up visits may be required for the scar to start responding to therapy. Patients considering options for the management of overgrown scars can talk to a medical professional about the available choices for their cases.

Steroid injections can help with keloid scar tissue.
Steroid injections can help with keloid scar tissue.

Overgrowth can occur in response to physical trauma for a variety of reasons, and sometimes keloids form spontaneously. These scars don’t stop growing at the boundaries of the injury, but keep swelling and spreading. They can impair mobility and may cause other problems for patients, like pain and irritation. Visible growths can also be a cosmetic issue for patients who feel uncomfortable with the existence of large scars in obvious locations.

A keloid injection is one possible option for patients concerned about overgrown scars.
A keloid injection is one possible option for patients concerned about overgrown scars.

Patients may receive a keloid injection to stop the cell growth and shrink the scar down. This may require a local anesthetic for comfort before a medical practitioner inserts a needle into the keloid and injects a small amount of medication. In addition to steroids, other immunosuppressive drugs can be used to fight keloids. Some of these have been used in limited clinical trials only, and may be recommended in off-label use for a patient if a doctor has had good results in the past.

Keloids may require surgical removal.
Keloids may require surgical removal.

Positioning the needle is important for a keloid injection. It needs to be inside the scar tissue itself, not the underlying skin and muscle, in many cases. The dosage may also need to be carefully calculated on the basis of the patient’s weight and the size of the scar, to reduce the risk of complications. Patients who notice pain or irritation during the keloid injection should bring it up, as these may be signs that something is wrong.

The dosage of a keloid injection may be calculated based on the patient's weight.
The dosage of a keloid injection may be calculated based on the patient's weight.

The growth may feel sore and irritated after a keloid injection. It should start to shrink over time, and inflammation around the scar may go down as well. If it doesn’t respond to treatment, other options may need to be considered. Injections tend to be more successful than measures like surgical excision, where the growth is cut off, because excisions can result in recurrence as the body recovers and starts scarring over from the procedure. Other options can include laser therapy and cryotherapy to freeze the scar off.

Individuals of African descent are more susceptible to developing keloids.
Individuals of African descent are more susceptible to developing keloids.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

Keloid injection were a waste of time and money for me. The injections worked for a while, but the keloid came right back soon after.

bluedolphin

@SarahGen-- I have not had cryosurgery so I am not sure about that but I have had steroid injections for a keloid on my shoulder.

The steroid injections did work for me, the keloid got smaller in size. The steroid started working on the inflammation very quickly. But I have to say that the injection itself was very painful. I've had injections before and they were never too bad. But since a keloid is inflamed and sensitive scar tissue, having a needle put into it directly is very painful.

My doctor had actually mixed a pain reliever with the steroid before injecting it to reduce the pain. But it still hurt a lot. I actually screamed when the needle went in. He had to put a local analgesic on it afterward. I had the injections three more times after this (one every week).

If you decide to get it, make sure that your doctor applies a topical anesthetic in addition to putting pain relievers in the steroid. Otherwise, it's going to hurt bad.

SarahGen

I have a tragus keloid that formed after a piercing and it's getting bigger and bigger. I tried some scar cream and it didn't do anything. I need to do something about this before it grows any more. I'm considering either a steroid injection or cryosurgery. Which is better?

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