Are African Americans More Prone Keloids After Plastic Surgery?

I've read that African Americans are more suceptible to forming keloids scars after plastic surgery. Is this true? Can it be prevented?

Doctor Answers 4

Scarring in African Americans

There are some skin types that are more prone to forming keloid scars: African American, Mediterranean, Indian, Hispanic, for instance.  There are also body areas that are more prone to form keloid scars: the mid-sternum, shoulders, back, earlobes, for instance. 

But this does not mean that all African Americans form keloids.  In fact, most do not, and do just fine after plastic surgery procedures.  In my practice, we use early scar interventions to reduce the formation of poor scars.  Some people still end up needing scar revisions, but at least I know we've done everything we can do make the scar as good as it can be.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

African Americans and Keloids

In general, African Americans, Asians, and Latin Americans are at greater risk for keloid formation than Caucasians.  The areas where keloids are most likely to form on a statistical basis are the sternum (chest), deltoid, and earlobe/ peri-auricular areas.  This is not to say that keloids are an inevitable consequence, because many African Americans are not at risk for and do not form keloids.  Whenever I see an African American patient who is considering a Facelift, I look to see if the patient has had ear piercings and I ask about family history of keloids.  If  the patient has been able to tolerate a piercing without keloid formation and describes no family history, the likelihood of keloid formation in the presence of an uncomplicated Facelift are low.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews


Keloids are more prone in certain ethnic groups. African-Americans can develop them as well as some Hispanic patients, as well as patients of mediteranean descent.  Usually patients know before hand if they form keloids from prior injuries.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Keloids in African Americans undergoing plastic surgery

If you look at the entire population of people with keloids you find a greater percentage of darker skinned indiviuals-African, Indian etc. than you do white caucasians. That does not mean that in individual African American is more susceptible to forming keloids after plastic surgery. The vast majority of keloids that I have seen were due to ear piercings and acne. The few keloids I have seen after surgery were mostly in the lower abdomen after gynecologic surgery. I have performed cosmetic surgery on a large number of African Americans and do not remember any them getting a keloid after surgery.

My approach to this is identify those who are at risk (not just on the basis of race) and take appropriate preventative measures.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.