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Steroid injections for scars: TAC for keloid scarring

A keloid scar is the result of a physical reaction to an injury of the skin. These can include ear piercings, surgical incisions, cuts and deep scratches.

If you experience keloid scarring, the chances are that any trauma you experience where the skin is cut or pierced will likely see a keloid reaction. Keloids can occur in anyone; however, those with darker skin types tend to be more susceptible to keloid scarring. It’s not entirely known why certain people experience keloid scarring, and it’s thought that the condition can be hereditary.

Keloids happen when the skin cells respond to trauma by producing collagen (this is a natural healing respond). Still, for some reason, an excess of collagen is produced, producing a ‘lumpy’ growth that can exceed the original skin wound’s size. Most keloid scarring appears on the face, neck, back, chest and earlobes but can appear on other parts of the body, too.

At The London Keloid Scar Clinic, we offer expert advice and state-of-the-art treatment programmes to help remove and manage keloid and hypertrophic scars. One such treatment is the injection of a corticosteroid – triamcinolone acetonide (TAC).

What is a TAC injection for keloid scars?

TAC intralesional injection is the most popular and widely-used treatment for keloid scars. It is administered primarily after surgical excision, or alone and in combination with 5-FU, verapamil and bleomycin.

TAC is considered the gold- standard in safe, non-surgical management of hypertrophic and keloid scars. TAC is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) of the specific keloid scar and may help to reduce the size and its symptoms. The injections are safe, as very little steroid gets into the body, rather it treats the keloid scar, locally.

Why should I have TAC injections?

TAC injections can help to flatten a keloid scar, and they can also prevent the scar from reforming after surgical removal.

TAC can also reduce symptoms such as itching and pain around the area. Treatment may be performed every four to six weeks until the maximum benefit arises.

Are there any side effects of TAC injections for a keloid scar?

As with any steroid injection, there can be some side-effects associated with TAC. They can include thinning of the skin, localised in the treatment area, slight skin colour changes around the injection site, or deposits of steroid in the form of small white flecks on the scar itself.

All these side-effects are temporary, but they can take some time to disappear. Unlike some steroid treatments, very little steroid is absorbed into the body with TAC injections and should not cause swelling of the face or weight gain. However, you should contact us immediately if you do suddenly experience facial swelling, severe pain in your abdomen or unexpected rash.

You should not receive TAC injections if you have ever had a known allergic reaction to TAC, or if you have an infection which is not being treated or managed and your doctor does not advise you to undergo TAC injections.

Am I suitable for TAC injections?

Before any treatment can be carried out, here at The London Cosmetic Clinic, we will always ask that you attend a no-obligation, pre-treatment consultation, so that we can examine your skin and check your medical history. It is crucial that during your initial meeting, you let the doctor know if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have had any of the following conditions:

  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Bowel disorders
  • An ulcer
  • Blood clots
  • Cancer
  • Brittle bones
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Mental disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Myasthenia gravis or glaucoma

What happens during a TAC injection treatment?

After completing some standard consent forms, we will help you feel comfortable in one of our treatment rooms. The area to be treated will be cleaned with a specially-formulated skin cleanser. A small amount of the corticosteroid will be injected into the scar.

Is a TAC injection painful?

This treatment can be uncomfortable initially, but this will soon subside. Taking paracetamol half an hour before the treatment can help with any discomfort.

What happens after the treatment?

You will be able to go back to your normal daily activities immediately after your keloid scar treatment. A dressing will be applied over the treated area if necessary, and the doctor will offer you some simple aftercare instructions to follow. You will need to return to the clinic around six weeks after your treatment, for a follow-up appointment and repeat injections if advised.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments required will depend on the size and severity of your keloid scar.

One cannot be wholly accurate about how many treatments you will need, as we will need to monitor the progress of skin healing and keloid reduction over the months that you attend the clinic. However, an estimate can be given during your pre-treatment consultation, here at The London Keloid Scar Clinic so that we can manage your expectations effectively. If you need six treatments or more, we will advise on a medical review after those initial six treatments, to check your progress and general health. Once this review has been undertaken, you can then proceed with any further treatments that might be needed.

TAC injections have made a world of difference to so many of our patients. Their keloid scars can be effectively managed and in many cases, disappear for good. With a few simple injections, you can have smoother, clearer skin and a renewed confidence and vitality that lasts a lifetime!

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