Treatment of Keloids With Excision and Adjuvant Radiation: A Single Center Experience and Review of the Literature

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Management of keloids has remained a conundrum, because an optimum treatment regimen has yet to be elucidated. Currently, treatment varies widely between more conservative measures, such as steroid injections, topical medications, and silicone sheeting, to more aggressive options, such as surgery and postoperative radiation. The latter combination has been touted to have superior results, with the lowest rates of pathologic scar recurrence.


We performed a retrospective review to critically evaluate the effectiveness of surgical excision and radiation treatment in patients with keloids. Surgical resection of surgeon-selected keloids, combined with state-of-the-art postoperative cutaneous radiation therapy, was used at a major tertiary referral center. For patients with poor follow-up, phone calls were made to determine recurrence. In addition, we present a review of the current literature to provide a comprehensive synopsis of current keloid treatment.


A total of 69 patients' records were reviewed. There were a total of 84 keloids upon pathology review. The overall recurrence rate for all keloids was 27%, and in those followed greater than 1 year, recurrence for keloids was 74%. About half the patients with more than 1 year of follow-up experienced recurrence more than 1 year after treatment.


At this time, the evidence supporting surgery and radiation for the treatment of keloids remains equivocal, and randomized controlled studies are needed to determine the efficacy of this treatment protocol. Most importantly, our data reinforce the need for long-term follow-up in this patient population.

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