Scoping Review of Therapeutic Strategies for Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars

Jaclyn B. Anderson, Aaron Foglio, Alex B. Harrant, Christene A. Huang, C. Scott Hultman, David W. Mathes, Tae W. Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Keloids are an abnormal proliferation of scars that can involve large areas of tissue beyond the original injury site. Hypertrophic scars are similar clinically, but do not exceed the original scar limits. These scarring abnormalities can cause noxious symptoms such as pain, tenderness, itching, and ulcerations. The aim of this review is to discuss current therapies for both types of abnormal scarring, and to determine if guidelines can be provided for excisional treatment with adjuvant therapies versus non-excisional methods. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed through the Web of Science database. The search revolved around keywords such as "keloid," "hypertrophic scars," and "treatment." Articles were reviewed and screened for inclusion and exclusion criteria. The review focuses on an analysis and summarization of randomized control trials regarding keloid or hypertrophic scar treatments. Results: The original searches produced 1161 and 1275 articles for keloid and hypertrophic scars, respectively. In total, 316 duplicates were found. After accounting for 2014-2019 publication time, 655 keloid and 893 hypertrophic scar articles were reviewed. This resulted in 15 articles that pertained to treatment and randomized control trials. Conclusions: Keloids and hypertrophic scars present a clinical challenge. Based on qualitative review of recurrence, neither excision plus adjuvant therapy or nonsurgical treatments can be recommended preferentially at this time. More research is needed to determine if recurrence rate bias exists between the treatment regimens, as excisional treatment plus adjuvant therapy is reserved for refractory scars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3469
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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