Radiotherapy for keloid scars
We offer low-dose radiotherapy after surgery to prevent a keloid scar from returning. Studies show that the scar will not regrow in 9 out of 10 people following radiotherapy treatment
Effective keloid scar treatment
We offer low-dose radiotherapy for keloid scars after surgery. A keloid scar is a lumpy, raised, overgrown scar that can sometimes develop when a wound heals, or even after very minor skin damage such as acne. There are many treatments available, but the results vary – as often the keloid scar returns, or treatment can take a long time to take effect. Surgery combined with precision radiotherapy (or occasionally radiotherapy on its own) can help. Studies show that the scar will not regrow in nine out of 10 people following this approach, compared to around two in 10 for surgery alone and six in 10 for surgery with steroid injections.
We’re the UK’s leading private provider of advanced radiotherapy with 14 specialist outpatient centres throughout the UK. We have world-class expertise in the latest ways to treat a range of skin conditions, and we invest in new evidence-based technologies that have been shown to make a difference.
You can pay for this keloid treatment yourself or some insurance providers may cover it if you have private medical insurance – we can help you find out.
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What are keloid scars?
Keloid scars are often painless, but they may be tender or itchy. You may also feel self conscious if it’s in a particularly visible area of your body, such as your ears, or if it’s very large. It’s not known exactly what causes keloid scars, but they’re more likely in people with dark skin and Asian people, those with high blood pressure and younger people between 10 and 30 years old. They can also run in families.
Your specialist may advise you to try simple treatments to reduce your scar first, such as steroid plasters and steroid injections. If these haven’t worked for you, then careful surgery combined with precision radiotherapy, or occasionally radiotherapy on its own, may be most appropriate for you.
What is radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy is a treatment using beams of radiation targeted at specific areas of the body in order to treat various diseases. There are various kinds of radiotherapy which are each used to treat different conditions in different ways. For example, tumours are destroyed with powerful, high energy radiation, whereas keloid scars are treated with much lower dose of radiation, so that the risk of side effects is much lower.
Radiotherapy for keloid scars
Radiotherapy for keloid scars has been used for many years, but modern radiotherapy techniques are designed to have much better outcomes. This treatment is suitable for you if you have a keloid scar that a surgeon is planning to cut out. It’s usually used after surgery to prevent the scar from recurring and studies show that the scar will not regrow in 9 out of 10 people.
We use a technique called electron beam radiotherapy for keloid scars. It’s possible to precisely control how deep the electron beam radiotherapy goes into your skin, so that it affects less healthy tissue underneath your scar.
Electron beam radiotherapy for keloid scars is available at all our 14 specialist radiotherapy centres throughout the UK, meaning you don’t have to travel far for this world-class care.
Is it safe?
We use world-class technologies and detailed planning processes to ensure your safety is always our priority.
There is a very small chance that some people will develop skin cancer on treated areas, many years later. The risk of radiation-induced cancer in keloid treatment depends on your age, the area being treated, and radiation dose and technique, but it is considered to be very low. For, example with earlobe keloid scars there is less than 0.1% risk of skin cancer. Your consultant will carefully plan the target area and monitor the dose given to minimise this risk.
What about side effects?
No treatment is without side effects, and your consultant will explain what you’re likely to experience. They’ll advise you on the best way to deal with and prevent side effects and will be available during and after your treatment for keloid scars, should you have any questions.
It’s important that you attend your follow-up appointments so we can identify and treat any problems as soon as possible.
Short-term side effects
After radiotherapy, you may experience:
- Skin redness and peeling
- Rarely there can be delayed wound healing or wound opening
Long-term side effects
You may find your skin pigmentation permanently changes (your skin can get lighter or darker) around the treatment area. Rarely, you may get spider veins (small visible blood vessels in the surface of the skin). This is more common in patients previously treated with steroid injections.
Your keloid scar treatment
One of our expert radiation oncologists (a doctor who specialises in radiotherapy) will provide a personalised treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs. Treatment can be delivered in one session, but for keloids in certain locations that have a higher risk of recurring, you may be given a slightly higher amount of radiation delivered in up to five sessions.
If you have radiotherapy after surgery (post-operatively), sessions will be over consecutive weekdays. If you’re having radiotherapy on its own, to reduce symptoms or the size of your keloid, then you may have a longer gap between the treatment sessions. Your radiation oncologist will develop a tailored treatment plan for you.
After the initial consultation, your radiation oncologist will work with our team of specialist staff, including skilled physicists and radiographers, to plan your treatment.
Your treatment will be delivered by a machine called a linear accelerator (linac) in a dedicated radiotherapy treatment room. During your first session, one of our expert radiotherapists (who will operate the linac) will explain the treatment process and answer any questions you may have. Each treatment shouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes each day and you can go home after every session.
You’ll be offered follow-up appointments with your radiation oncologist eight to ten weeks after your radiotherapy treatment. Generally, your surgeon will follow you up after that. We’re dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients before, during and after their treatment.
Why choose GenesisCare?
We’re the UK’s leading private provider of advanced radiotherapy, with a comprehensive and specialist skin service. Your personalised treatment plan is tailored to your individual needs and delivered by your dedicated care team of consultant radiation oncologists, dermatologists, radiographers and key support staff. We can design and plan treatments around your work and personal commitments so you can get on with your life.
We’re in the top 1% of healthcare providers worldwide based on feedback from our patients and we’re proud that so many patients take away a positive experience of their care with us.