Should I Tie a String Around my Hypertrophic Scar on my Ear to Remove It?

I just lost my job, so I have no insurance and can't afford surgery. My ear got massively infected, and after messing with it too much over the years it has become what I thought was a keloid. After research, I'm guessing it is a hyperthropic scar. People seem to have success (though a lot of pain) by tying a string around it until it turns black and falls off. What are the dangers/risks? Would this work? I'm depressed to the point I cry everyday and ALWAYS hide my ear... I want it gone.

Doctor Answers (6)

Self-treating an Ear Keloid

+2

Regarding: "Should I Tie a String Around my Hypertrophic Scar on my Ear to Remove It?
I just lost my job, so I have no insurance and can't afford surgery. My ear got massively infected, and after messing with it too much over the years it has become what I thought was a keloid. After research, I'm guessing it is a hyperthropic scar. People seem to have success (though a lot of pain) by tying a string around it until it turns black and falls off. What are the dangers/risks? Would this work? I'm depressed to the point I cry everyday and ALWAYS hide my ear... I want it gone
."

You do have a keloid. (A hypertrophic scar does not spill outside the boundaries of the injury). Do it yourself surgery is not realy a good idea if you cannot afford or handle potential complications. You are proposing to cut the blood supply to the keloid getting it to die and then fall off. If this happens without an infection you will now have a raw wound at the base which would heal any way it wants to. There is nothing preventing it from creating a similar keloid or a worse one.

Dr. Aldea


Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Not a good idea

+2

While I understand your desire to treat yourself, you likely will end up with a worse scar from the process you described.  That also places you at a higher risk for infection which would definitely end up being an expensive and potentially disfiguring event.

My advice is to wait until you have the means to have this treated by a qualified physician.  Perhaps you can check around and see what the costs are in your area.  It might be cheaper than you think:)

Good luck!

Brian K. Brzowski, MD
Ogden Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Treating Keloids of the Ear

+1

The best way to control smaller ear area keloids is a trial of injectable steroid, known as kenalog.  We have been able to shrink hypertrophic scars and smaller keloids without surgery with repetitive treatment.  Other options include removing the keloid and treating the area after surgery with kenalog.  Pressure earrings can also help once the keloids have been removed. 

Stephen Bresnick, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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Prominent scar of keloid.

+1

You should first remove your earring as this may be contributing. I have seen instances of metal allergy resulting in this scar. Furthermore, you should make sure there is no foreign body or retained earring backing in the ear lobule causing this problem. Althought tying it off could be an immeadiate solution, it is my guess that it would very likely recur without the use of steroid injections.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

That is a terrible idea...

+1

You do have a keloid and this is not uncommon on the earlobe. Simple surgical removal is not sufficient and you will have it come back again. Plastic surgeons have been frustrated in treating these difficult problems and there is no uniformity in opinion as to what is best. One dose of radiation treatment immediately following keloid removal or steriod injections done a number of times after surgery seem to be effective treatments in some patients. A plastic surgeon who is also a wound healing expert is your best bet. Please... no strings.

Bala S. Chandrasekhar, MD - RETIRED
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Home care for keloids

+1

A scar that grows beyond it's initial borders is classic for keloid, as is the location you note on your picture.  So first of all, this is a keloid.  Second, choking that area off progressively is a mistake, and will only lead to poor cosmetic results and recurrence.  There is no easy fix here that you can do on your own.  So either accept the fact that it will require a cosmetic fee and prepare, or wait.  But keep in mind the surgeon will likely suggest steroid injections as part of your post removal planning, and these are very important.  You must keep the follow up appointments.  The best surgery in the world can be lost if follow up is not performed.

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.