Hypertrophic/Keloid Scars

Also known as: hypertrophic scarring, keloids

What are hypertrophic/keloid scars?

A hypertrophic scar may develop as part of the skin's response to injury and is a reddish, itchy, firm, normally raised, thicker-than-usual form of scar that’s similar in color and texture to normal skin. They do not get bigger over time and may get better in 12-24 months without treatment. A keloid scar is also the skin's response to injury (or the presence of foreign material), but the keloid scar is a firmer flat or stalked exaggerated overgrowth of dense scar tissue, that develops after the skin heals and is larger than the injured area. It tends to get bigger over time.

What causes hypertrophic/keloid scars?

Both forms of skin response seem to be genetically determined.

What are the symptoms of hypertrophic/keloid scars?

Aside from the physical appearance of the scars, they usually present with no symptoms, however can sometimes be itchy and painful.

What are hypertrophic/ keloid scar care options?

In most cases, no treatment is needed for hypertrophic scars. For a problematic keloid scar, treatment depends on its location, size and depth, and the age of the child. “Prevention is key”. Treatments include occlusive dressings, compression therapy, injection of corticosteroids into the scar, cryosurgery, radiation, and a wide range of medications and over the counter drugs. Many new therapies are becoming available.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:01 PM

Learn more about