How to Tell Between Keloid or Hypertrophic Scarring on Cartilage Piercing?

Three months ago I got my cartilage piercing, the other day I noticed a light pink bump has formed on the front side of my ear right next to my piercing hole. I took my earring out and the bump bled very little, later I put the earring back in after cleaning with the cleaning solution the piercer had given me. I was wondering whether or not I should take my earring out completely, and whether it was a keloid or hypertrophic scarring.  

Doctor Answers 6

Deciding between hypertrophic and keloid scars

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My experience has led me to conclude that most keloid scars have a progressive inflammatory component that is unlike sedentary or well healed hypertrophic scars. An excellent option is the Plato's Scar Serum to reduce hypertrophy of the scars. 

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Keloid versus hypertrophic scars

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Hypertrophic scars are typically red, raised and can be painful.  The stay within the boundaries of the wound.  Keloid scars will extend beyond the boundary of the wound and grow aggressively in some cases.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Keloid or hypertrophic scar

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The difference between a hypertrophic scar and keloid is mostly made by a microscope. However clinically, when you are looking at a scar when the borders of the scar extend past the borders of the incision or cut it is called a keloid. They can both be improved with steroid injections. Hypertrophic scars respond to the steroid injections better. Hypertrophic scars also can involute or disappear with time and with aggressive massage. Keloids sometimes need surgery and other treatment like stroid injections and radiotherapy. Keloid scars can be hard to treat and eradicate and can recurr even after treatment or years after they have been dormant. 



Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Keloid vs. Hypertrophic Scarring

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After the skin is injured, the healing process usually leaves a flat scar. Sometimes the scar is hypertrophic, or thickened, but confined to the margin of the wound. Hypertrophic scars tend to be redder and may subside by themselves.


Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Keloids on the ear after piercing

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You probably have a keloid since it is larger than the piercing.  It is very common for keloids to occur on the ear after piercings and they do not resolve on their own.  The more you wear the earring, the larger the keloid may grow.  It is best to remove the earring and see your physician for assessment and possible treatment.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

What is the difference between keloid and hypertrophic scar?

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The difference between keloid and hypertrophic scar is academic. If the scar extends beyond tissue that was injured by the piercing then it is a keloid. It is hard to know what is going on with your ear. You could have infection in that area or granulation tissue accumulating at the site of the piercing. It is worthwhile to see your primary care doctor to have that area examined. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

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.