What are keloids?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018
  • Author: Brian Berman, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Keloids are the result of an overgrowth of dense fibrous tissue that usually develops after healing of a skin injury. The tissue extends beyond the borders of the original wound, does not usually regress spontaneously, and tends to recur after excision. The first description of keloids (recorded on papyrus) concerned surgical techniques used in Egypt in 1700 BCE. Subsequently, in 1806, Alibert used the term cheloide, derived from the Greek chele, or crab's claw, to describe the lateral growth of tissue into unaffected skin. Note the image below.

Clawlike outline of a keloid. Courtesy of Dirk M. Clawlike outline of a keloid. Courtesy of Dirk M. Elston, MD.

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