Frequently Asked Questions

About the Research Study

What is the purpose of the registry?

The purpose of the Genetic Causes of Keloid Formation Study is to learn more about keloids and to find out what causes them to occur.

Who is eligible to join?

You and your family are eligible to participate in the study if you and at least two other family members:

  • Have or have had keloids
  • Are at least 10 years old 
  • Are able to communicate in English or Spanish

If you are uncertain about joining or about whether you are eligible to participate, feel free to contact us for more information.

What does participation in the study involve?

All family members who would like to participate will be invited to sign a consent form that explains the study and procedures, to complete a questionnaire with keloid- and health-related questions, and to donate a small amount of blood.

The blood will be used to prepare DNA in order to study the genes that influence keloid formation.

What does it cost to enroll?

There is no cost to enroll. However, this is not a treatment study. Neither you, nor your insurance provider, will be charged for participating in this research study. 

How do I find out more?

Please contact us by phone, 214-648-2703, or email keloidgenetics@utsouthwestern.edu, to learn more.

About Keloids

What are keloids?

A keloid is the result of overgrowth of tissue that usually occurs after healing of an injury to the skin. Keloids extend beyond the borders of the initial injury and grow into nearby uninjured skin. The injury can be due to an operation, a piercing, a burn, a scratch, or even acne. Keloids usually do not regress spontaneously (go away on their own) and often continue to slowly grow in size.

What does a keloid look like?

Keloids are often round, oval, or oblong smooth-topped scars on the skin over sites of injury. However, they can be irregularly shaped with “claw-like” extensions into normal skin.

Where on the body does a keloid occur?

Keloids can occur anywhere on the body. However, they occur most often on the chest, upper back, shoulders, and earlobes.

What problems do keloids cause?

Keloids are not malignant – meaning that they are not life-threatening skin lesions. However, they are often cosmetically disfiguring, which can cause emotional or psychological distress and even affect self-esteem. Some keloids can cause restriction of motion if they occur over joints (e.g. shoulders). Keloids can also be uncomfortable as they can itch, and sometimes can even be painful.

Who suffers from keloids?

Though they can occur at any age, the highest incidence of keloids occurs between the ages of 10 and 40 years of age. Darker skinned individuals (African-Americans and Hispanics) are more likely to develop keloids than lighter-skinned people (Caucasians). There is no difference in risk between men and women.

What causes keloids?

The causes of keloids are unknown. Researchers believe that keloids occur due to a failure of the body to turn off the natural healing process used to repair damaged skin. The number of collagen-producing cells increases more than it should, and these cells end up producing too much collagen.

Researchers also believe that genetics play a role in the formation of keloids because:

1. Keloids can occur across multiple generations in families

2. Darker skinned individuals (African-Americans and Hispanics) are more likely to develop keloids than lighter-skinned people (Caucasians).

What are some treatment options for keloids?

Surgical removal can be performed, but as surgery causes trauma to the skin, it can cause the keloid to recur, sometimes larger than the original keloid.

Injection of corticosteroids directly into the keloid can reduce itching and shrink the size of the keloid.

There are a number of other treatment options that may be used, depending on the size and location of the keloid. Some of them include: silicone sheets, mechanical compression, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, interferon, 5-fluorouracil, laser therapy, methotrexate, and colchicine.