All about Keloid Ear

The ear is a common site for the development of keloids. Ear piercing is by far the most common cause of the development of the keloid ear. Other types of ear injury, such as surgery (otoplasty)  or unfortunate burns in patients who are genetically predisposed to keloid disorder, may also result in the formation of ear keloids.

Keloid removal surgery is the primary risk factor for recurrent ear keloids and the only risk factor for semi-massive and massive ear keloids.

What is a keloid ear?

Ear keloids are firm, rubbery, fibrous nodules that develop on the ear as a result of minor trauma, most commonly ear piercing. They can develop in the earlobes, as well as the skin and cartilage higher up on the ear. Ear keloids range in colour from flesh to pink to dark brown.

Keloids can be irritating or painful. They can also grow quite large, distorting or deforming the ear.

What causes ear keloids?

Keloid ear from piercing

Having your ears pierced may not feel like a serious injury, but that’s how your body perceives it.

Fibrous scar tissue begins to replace old skin tissue as wounds heal. Keloids occur when your body produces an excessive amount of scar tissue “beyond the initial injury”. This excess tissue begins to spread from the original wound, resulting in a bump or small mass larger than the original piercing.

Keloids on the ear typically begin as small round bumps around the piercing site. They can appear quickly at times, but they usually appear several months after you pierce your ear. For the next few months, your keloid may continue to grow slowly.

keloid ear

Other causes

Ear keloids are the result of excessive scar tissue formation as a result of skin injury. When an overgrowth of granulation tissue (Collagen – type 3) is replaced by type 1 collagen, a keloid forms. In contrast to hypertrophic scars, which appear as raised scars but do not grow beyond the initial region of injury, as keloids do.

It is unknown why keloids are more common in people with darker skin pigmentation, such as African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. Keloids can affect people of all ages, but the majority of people develop keloids after puberty.

What are the symptoms of keloid ear?

  • Slowly appear and grow – It can take 3 months to a year before you notice the first signs of a keloid. It then takes weeks or months to grow. They can sometimes grow slowly for years.
  • Raised pink, red, or purple scar with a flat surface – It begins with a pink or red coloured raised scar; with time, the colour may also darken. It is usually darker than the person’s skin, with the border darker than the centre.
  • Feel different from the surrounding skin – Some keloids are soft and doughy in texture. Others are tough and pliable.
  • Pain, itching, or tenderness – Some keloids may be itchy, tender, or painful to the touch as they grow. These symptoms usually go away once the keloid has stopped growing.

Keloid Ear treatment

The goal of keloid treatment in Dubai is to flatten, soften, or shrink the keloid. Hence, our keloids specialist may use a combination of treatment methods to get rid of the keloids in the smoothest possible manner.

Non-surgical methods

  • (multiple) Corticosteroid injections – The medicine in these injections helps to shrink the scar.
  • Silicone sheets in combination with pressure (clip-on earring) –  can help it flatten (scar suppression).

Minimal invasive treatment

  • Cryotherapy, or freezing the scar, can be used to reduce the hardness and size of the keloid. It is most effective on small keloids.
  • Laser therapy – It can help to flatten the keloid. It can also fade the colour.
  • Ligature – If the keloid can be tied around, a dermatologist may recommend using surgical thread to gradually remove it. Every 2-3 weeks, the surgical thread will need to be replaced.

Combined Surgical Treatment & Low-grade Radiation & scar suppressive treatment

Resection of the Keloid followed by low-grad radiation therapy started within 6 – 24 hrs after surgery is the most effective treatment, showing the best results and the lowest recurrence rate. In order to further reduce the risk of scar growth above the skin level, scar suppression treatment with a silicone patch applied with pressure by clip-on earrings must be carried out for at least 3 – 6 months.

Seek appropriate keloid scar treatment

Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Prof Dr Robert Hierner, has the highest degree of expertise in such surgeries and treatments. He is a veteran doctor holding more than 30 years of experience. He is a world-renowned scar removal expert and the only doctor in Dubai offering holistic keloid treatment. Besides, he can effortlessly provide the most modern procedures. He is also an editor and author of books on plastic surgery due to his professional skills and extensive knowledge.

Book your appointment to have a detailed discussion.