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Keloids (scars)

Treatment options: Injections of cortisone, a hormonal steroid (and immunosuppressant) frequently used to reduce inflammation and swelling, have been shown to reduce the size of keloids.

Fluorouracil is an anti-tumor agent used in treating some cancers. The drug mimics a component of the key nucleotide thymidine, which allows it to interrupt the DNA replication of unwanted cells. Fluorouracil may be injected or applied in a topical cream. It may cause unpleasant side effects, however, like ulceration (sores) and hyperpigmentation.

Surgical treatments: Cryosurgery freezes off keloid tissue with a cold probe, but the scars frequently recur, and frequent cryosurgery may cause permanent hypopigmentation (skin lightening).

Excision is typically ineffective unless combined with one or more of the other treatments described here.

Laser therapy with CO2 lasers have been effective at preventing recurrence of keloidal scars following surgery.