I have some keloid scarring on my ears from piercings. Can these be removed, and how can I prevent them from coming back in the future?
Keloid scars and the more common hypertrophic scars of the external ear are very common. We see and treat a lot of them. People with black skin are the most prone to keloids of the ear lobe, just from the piercing itself. Hypertrophic scars often develop as a result of an infection. Piercing through the cartilage of the ear puts you at risk for infection and both of these scars. Treatment of these scars can be challenging. It usually requires a series of injections with a steroid suspension called triamcinolone to soften the scar. Once soft enough and small enough, according to the surgeon’s judgement, an attempt at excision is worthwhile. This is followed by monthly triamcinolone injections into the scar beginning 10 days after surgery. Sometimes we excise a keloid with the carbon dioxide laser, but most insurance companies do not cover this. Keloid and hypertophic scars that go through the ear from one side to the other are particularly challenging. Treatment of any of these scars typically takes well over a year.