Will Radiation Help Shrink An Earlobe Keloid That Is Returning After Having Been Removed Previously?

Q: I want to know how much is radiation therapy after a keloid is removed from the earlobe? I had a large keloid removed several months ago and now it seems to be returning. I have read that radiation therapy can be very helpful after surgery.

A: For radiation to be beneficial in the management of keloids, it must be done immediately after the keloid is removed. This is low dose radiation that is done within days after the excisional procedure and continued daily for a very short period of time. The purpose of radiation is to disrupt the formation of collagen fibrils in the very earliest phase of wound healing. But decreasing the early and aggressive collagen response of keloid-prone tissues, it is hoped that the over-production of scar tissue would be halted and the keloid would not return. Once the keloid is formed, radiation will not be useful.

Radiation therapy is not usually an out-of-pocket expense and, when done as an adjunctive treatment in keloid surgery, should be covered by your health insurance. That will require a pre-determination letter to verify that it is a covered benefit.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana