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Developed a keloid. What should I do?

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I recently got my bellybutton pierced. Although the person who pierced me, reused the same needle on a different person. I have had it for about a month now and I have been starting to see a keloid start to grow on the bottom. I have as well begun to clean it correctly with sea salt and water as well as applying Neosporin. Are there any risks I could be running, should I see a doctor? What should I do?

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.

With reference to your query regarding the development of keloid at the site where you had your belly button pierced. Let me explain to you about the information on keloid. It is a benign fibrous skin tumor. They are common in dark-skinned people. Both men and women are likely to have keloids. It usually occurs at the site of skin damage like acne, burns, chicken pox, cuts, insect bites, piercings, surgery, tattoos, vaccinations. They occur spontaneously. It is not determined by the severity of the wound. Even a minor abrasion can result in keloid formation. They are the result of abnormal wound healing. The fibroblast cells in the skin produce excessive amounts of collagen which are thicken and wavier and leads to the thick raised appearance which is characteristic of keloid scars. Possible causes could be genetic factors, skin tension, skin color and the presence of a very high number of fibroblasts in the skin. Symptoms are they are usually firm, raised, shiny and smooth. They always extend beyond the limits of the original wound. They are often pink or red or much darker or lighter in color than the surrounding skin. They may change with time. They are generally not painful, but often itchy. They are likely to develop on the arms, back, ears, lower legs, mid-chest and neck. Depending on their appearance and location can cause some psychological distress, as keloids can be quite prominent. They can also interfere with movement, very rarely they become cancerous. Your doctor or dermatologist, depending on the location, appearance of the scar and progression overtime, can do diagnosis. Treatment: There is no complete cure or to their formation. (a) Injection of triamcinolone with the scar, which helps to prevent inflammation and breakdown of collagen and combine with laser therapy. (b) Surgery can be done but recurrence is common. (c) Silicone gel dressings (alternative to steroid injection). (d) Radiation therapy and medications such as interferon, 5 fluorouracil and bleomycin. Regarding the usage of the same needle, which has been used on another person, tends to develop Hepatitis infections. Hence it is better to have a word with your G.P. or Dermatologist for further advice. Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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