Treatment Options

Keloid Disorder is a chronic skin conditions that requires a comprehensive treatment plan and approach. Most keloid lesions need more than one modality of treatment. Approach to treatment of keloid should be a step by step non-surgical treatment plan for every patient. This plan should take into consideration the location, size and thickness of the keloid as well as the associated symptoms and all prior treatments. Some keloids can be treated with cryotherapy alone, others need to be injected with steroids first and, if they do not respond to this treatment, cryotherapy is used in the second stage. If all these fail, one may need to even incorporate chemotherapy, as a step to gain control over the process. Although keloids are difficult conditions to treat, the good news is that everyone with keloids can be helped in one form or the other. Treatment process takes time. Each cycle of treatment results in some improvement in the appearance and size of the treated keloid. In most patients, treatment needs to be repeated several times to achieve best results.


An easy and common method of treating keloidal lesions is to inject them with steroids. Steroid injections work for a minority of patients, specially those with very few and thin keloid lesions. Steroid injections are often repeated every few weeks. There is no clinical evidence that higher doses of steroids are better, therefore, the dose of injected steroids should be kept the lowest possible. There is, however, strong evidence that higher doses of steroid do cause side effects, both locally at the site of injection causing skin atrophy and fat necrosis, and systemic side effects, such as rise in blood sugar (among diabetics) specially when repeated every few weeks.


The fundamental approach to treatment of keloids is to destroy the keloid tissue with a method that results in the least chance of recurrence. Cryotherapy is one such treatment that can destroy the keloid tissue. It is also the safest method, as it does not involve any medications. Cryotherapy works best on bulky keloids such as ear and large keloidal tumors. Success of cryotherapy is for the most part "operator dependent". Incorrect application of cryotherapy often does not lead into any results. As such, patients should ask their physicians about their past experience with cryotherapy. Simple spraying of liquid nitrogen from a spray can, a commonly practiced technique is simply not going to work.


Certain chemotherapy drugs have shown various degree of efficacy in treatment of keloidal lesions. Choice of drugs, the dosage as well as side effects have all to be taken into consideration before initiating such treatments. Very painful chest wall keloids respond best to intra-lesional chemotherapy.


Surgery and removal of the keloid from the skin does result in immediate improvement in the appearance of the skin, however, the risk of recurrence after surgery is near 100%, making the situation often worse by re-growth of an even bigger keloid at the site of surgery.


Radiation therapy as an adjunct to surgery can cause regression of some, but not all keloids. Radiation, however, can cause fibrosis and very dense skin reaction at the site of treatment. Chronic infections and skin abscess formation are among other long term complications of recurrent keloids after radiation therapy. Long term carcinogenic and other risks of radiation therapy may not justify using radiation in the treatment of keloids that by nature, are benign skin conditions.


    KRF Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Keloids:

    (January 11, 2019) KRF is proud to announce publication of several Keloid Treatment Guidelines. Authoring and production of these Guidelines has been a time-consuming task, yet one that has been long waited for. These Guidelines reflect the most up to date approach to treatment of keloids. We hope that the Guideline allow for establishment of standards in treating keloid patients across the globe. KRF Practice Guidelines.

    3rd International Keloid Symposium:

    (July 15, 2018) KRF is proud to announce that the 2nd was successfully held on June 7-8, 2018 in Rome, Italy with attendees from 22 different countries. During this meeting, KRF was invited to host the 3rd International Keloid Symposium in Beijing. Since the Rome meeting, the organizing committee has worked hard to make this a reality. We are now pleased to announce that our next meeting, the 3rd International Keloid Symposium, which will be a three day meeting will be held in Beijing, China on April 19-21 at the Lecture Hall of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Click on the image below to be directed to the symposium website.

    2nd International Keloid Symposium:

    (January 18, 2018) KRF is proudly announcing that the 2nd will be held on June 7-8, 2018 in Rome, Italy. Click on the image below to be directed to the symposium website.

    Notice of 501 (C)(3) Status:

    (February 1, 2017) Keloid Research Foundation has been determined by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(C)(3). Donors can deduct contributions they make to KRF under IRC Section 170. Click here to view the 501(C)(3) Exemption Document.

    Journal of Keloid Research:

    (December 3, 2016)KRF is proud to announce establishment of Keloid Research, an open access scientific publication of the Keloid Research Foundation. Until now, keloid manuscripts have been published in a variety of journals. Our goal is to create a centralized publishing platform for all researchers who are passionate about this disorder, so that relevant clinical and laboratory research can be published in one place and under one umbrella. The journal is aiming to provide an international forum for the publication of original work, describing basic science, translational and clinical investigations in keloid disorder.

    Keloid Staging System:

    (August 19, 2016) In his most recent publication, "Neck Keloids: evaluation of risk factors and recommendation for keloid staging system" Dr. Tirgan has designed a staging system that allows for proper categorization and grouping of keloid patients into various stages.

    To assess each keloid patient properly, to better understand the natural history of this disorder, and to be able to compare future keloid study results among various patients groups, we clearly need a staging system that can allow us to describe the severity keloid disorder based on the size, location and/or extent of the keloidal lesions; as well as history of surgery or radiation therapy, and perhaps other factors that are currently unknown to us. Please click HERE to read more.