Can old keloid scars be removed? Keloids are raised, thick scars resulting from excessive collagen production during the healing of skin injuries. Unlike normal scars, keloids grow beyond the original wound boundaries, invasively expanding into surrounding healthy tissue. Older, established keloids can be extremely difficult to eradicate, but clinical treatments can successfully reduce the appearance and symptoms of these abnormal scars. 

Removing aged keloids requires more aggressive procedures and adjuvant therapies to prevent recurrence. Treatment also takes longer. Reversing years of collagen overgrowth is slower than tackling new scar formation. However, even people living with large, mature keloids for many years can achieve substantial improvements with persistence.

Can Old Keloid Scars Be Removed? 

Can Old Keloid Scars Be Removed

Old and established keloid scars can be removed through treatment, but it often takes longer to see results and may require a more aggressive approach than treating newer scars.

  • Treatment for old keloids focuses on flattening scars and reducing their appearance over time.
  • Options range from topical creams to minor surgery
  • Success depends on scar size, location, age, and cause
  • Some keloids don’t respond well to any treatment
  • Combination therapies are usually needed for the best results
  • Treatment can take over 6 months for old scars

How To Remove or Reduce Old Keloid Scars 

While old keloids are challenging to eliminate, there are ways to successfully reduce their visibility and discomfort through clinical treatments and at-home skincare.

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MethodHow It WorksSide Effects
Silicone SheetsHydrates skin to flatten scarsSkin irritation, itching
cryotherapy scar removalFreezing damages scar tissuePain, blistering
PentoxifyllineInhibits cell proliferationHyperpigmentation
Surgical ExcisionRemoves scar bulkSwelling, infection risk

This table summarises techniques to eliminate or shrink old keloids and how they mechanically damage or kill off scar tissue cells. It also covers common side effects associated with each technique.

Do Old Keloids Ever Go Away on Their Own? 

Do Old Keloids Ever Go Away on Their Own

Unlike some scars, older and established keloids will not fade or vanish spontaneously without intervention from a clinician.

  • Abnormal wound healing causes keloids to grow continuously
  • Rarely regress unless the growth triggers are addressed
  • Can expand far beyond the original injury site
  • May enlarge steadily for years if left untreated
  • It can cause significant pain, itching, and discomfort
  • Removal gets difficult over time

What is the Success Rate of Removing Old Keloids? 

Successfully eliminating old keloids is challenging, with variable success rates depending on the scar and methods used, though multimodal therapies often increase the chances.

LocationTreatmentRecurrence RateSuccess Rate
ChestExcision + Radiation<15%85+%
EarsSteroid Injections20-50%50-80%
ShouldersLaser Therapy5-15%85-95%

This table demonstrates how recurrence and success rates for old keloid removal can vary based on scar location and treatment method. It emphasises the impact site and therapy choice have on outcomes.

What Treatments Work Best For Older Keloids? 

What Treatments Work Best For Older Keloids

A combination of surgical reduction and adjuvant therapies (like radiation and steroids) produces the best long-term outcomes for aged keloids.

  • Excision removes the bulk of scar tissue.
  • Radiation prevents regrowth post-surgery
  • Intralesional injections reduce inflammation
  • Compression bandages discourage recurrence
  • Topical anticancer drugs combined with steroids
  • Laser reshapes remaining collagen

How Long Does It Take To Remove Established Keloids? 

Eliminating extensive, developed keloids is a gradual process, often taking over 6 months of ongoing treatment to achieve desired aesthetic improvements.

  • Minimum 6 months suggested for topicals
  • It can take a year or longer to use non-surgical approaches
  • Excision speeds up bulk removal
  • Adjuvant therapies prevent regrowth
  • Treatment times vary based on individual scars
  • Consistency is vital for optimal outcomes

What Makes Old Keloids Harder to Treat? 

Aged keloids develop extensive scar tissue, abnormal blood vessels, and distorted collagen structures over time, making reversing the damage more challenging.

  • Abundant, disorganised, rigid collagen bundles
  • Poor vascularisation limits the nutrient flow
  • Related inflammation and fibrosis worsen over time
  • Can invade surrounding healthy skin
  • Hormonal changes may spur growth
  • Genetic factors influence the severity

Will Keloids Grow Back After Successful Removal? 

Even after seemingly effective removal, keloids can unfortunately return due to their tendency to overheal, especially if follow-up adjuvant treatment is inadequate.

  • Up to 50% recurrence rate in first 6 months
  • Continued radiation/steroid injections prevent regrowth
  • Higher risk with more extensive, older scars
  • Surgical excision alone has a high failure rate
  • Early intervention aids in long-term success
  • Careful wound care regimen is essential

Should I Just Leave My Old Keloids Alone? 

While unattractive or annoying, some minor older keloids may not require treatment if they pose no physical problems or symptoms besides aesthetics.

  • Monitor asymptomatic scars for changes.
  • Growth, pain, and itching indicate the need for the removal
  • Conservative therapies worth trying first
  • Surgery has risks if unneeded
  • Individual factors shape treatment choices
  • Consult a dermatologist about bothersome scars

When Should I See a Doctor About My Old Scars? 

When Should I See a Doctor About My Old Scars

Consulting a dermatologist promptly when older keloids become painful, itchy, or rapidly enlarging gives the best chance to halt symptoms and avoid complex surgery.

  • Sudden or severe discomfort warrants an exam
  • Suspicious changes in texture or colour
  • Recurrent inflammation and skin damage
  • If scar outpaces original injury site
  • To discuss emerging systemic therapies
  • Before attempting pregnancy

While aged, developed keloids pose a more significant clinical challenge than newly formed scars. These abnormal growths can still be minimised and controlled. Complete keloid removal gets more complex as extensive scar tissue accumulates, but sustained treatment can successfully flatten and fade old keloids. Combining surgical excision to debulk lesions with secondary therapies like steroids, radiation, and pressure garments offers the best chance for long-term aesthetic and symptomatic relief. 

Treatment time frames often span over six months for mature scars. Patience is critical, as preventing recurrence is vital for lasting success when asking, “Can old keloid scars be removed?” Though difficult, significantly improving the appearance and discomfort of old keloids is possible. Discover advanced solutions for Keloid Scar Revision in Dubai, tailored to your unique needs, with our specialized cosmetic procedures.

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Yes, even decade-old keloids can be minimised through clinical treatment, though it may take 12 months or longer of consistent therapy.

Not always; while excision rapidly removes scar bulk, steroid injections, radiation, cryotherapy keloid removal, and laser treatments can also reduce old keloids.

Because keloids have a high risk of recurrence after treatment due to excessive collagen regrowth, preventative measures like radiation post-excision help avoid regrowth.

Surgically cutting out the keloid works quickly for debulking extensive old scars, especially when combined with adjuvant therapies afterwards.

While unlikely to permanently vanish decades-old keloids, diligent at-home skincare and clinical treatments can considerably smooth and flatten appearance.