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How Much Does Keloid Removal Cost?

Last Updated on June 11, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Keloids are fibrotic overgrowths of scar tissue that occur at the site of cutaneous injury and can cause significant cosmetic and physical concerns. But what type of costs should you expect for having disfiguring keloids removed professionally?

This extensive guide covers the variables influencing keloid treatment pricing, cost breakdowns for modalities like surgical excision, laser therapy, cryotherapy, steroid injections, radiation, combinations thereof, and ancillary expenses around scar care products and follow-up appointments.

We will also overview insurance coverage specifics, financing plans through clinics, tips for maximizing savings, location-based price variances, doctor selection criteria, treatment session expectations, risks and side effects, and the importance of consistency and patience for favorable outcomes.

How Much Does Keloid Removal Cost?

Total keloid removal costs can range widely from $500 to over $10,000 over a full treatment course depending on the modalities used, sessions required, doctor fees, and insurance coverage.

While expensive, surgical excision offers the highest probability of long-term aesthetic improvement and symptom relief in severe cases. More conservative options remain valuable for milder keloids.

Surgical Excision Procedures – $1,000 to $7,500

Cutting out the keloid growth followed by stitches. Most effective for severe cases, but also the most invasive and expensive option. General anesthesia is often required.

Serial Laser Therapy – $500 to $2,000 per session

Specialty scar lasers help flatten and reduce activity in keloids. Approximately 6-8 serial sessions are needed for gradual improvement.

Cryotherapy Treatments – $300 to $1,000 per session

Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy excess scar tissue cells. Numerous applications over several months provides best results.

Intralesional Steroid Injections – $200 to $500 per injection

Regular injections like Kenalog suppress inflammation and shrink keloids over time. At least 5-10 injections may be needed.

Post-Surgical Radiation – $2,000 to $8,000

Radiation is used after invasive excision to prevent recurrence. However, limited providers offer this specialized treatment currently.

Combination Therapy – $3,500+

Pairing modalities like laser and cryo or radiation with steroids improves outcomes but adds cost.

Pricing varies based on location, doctor/clinic fees, sessions needed, and length of treatment plan.

Talk to Mira reports that the cost of keloid removal ranges from $75 to upward of $2,000 depending on the type and duration of treatment. Keloid removal is considered a cosmetic procedure, therefore not usually covered by health insurance.

Williams Surgical Arts offers keloid scar removal treatments starting at $795 for the face and $995 for the body. They also provide non-invasive and minimally invasive options like corticosteroid injections, silicone treatment, creams, and lasers.

Arviva Aesthetics provides a range of treatments for keloids, including excision starting at $750, superficial radiation therapy starting at $900, and combination therapy. They also offer Kenalog injections, which typically take about two to six injections to treat a keloid successfully.

Acworth Dermatology reports that the cost of keloid removal ranges from $75 to $2,000, with surgery being the most expensive. They also highlight the importance of understanding insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses before undergoing treatment.

What are Keloids?

Keloids form when collagen production during wound healing becomes excessive, creating raised, firm scars that grow beyond the original injury site. They can develop after burns, cuts, piercings, acne, or surgery. Keloids tend to be:

  • Cosmetically disfiguring and socially embarrassing
  • Painful or itchy due to nerves trapped inside scar tissue
  • Prone to inflammation and skin discoloration

Surgically removing problematic keloids or using modalities like laser, cryotherapy, steroid therapy, or radiation provides both medical symptom relief and aesthetic improvement of appearance for most patients.

Factors That Affect Keloid Removal Expenses

Type and Extensiveness of Treatment – Invasive surgical excision is substantially more expensive initially than conservative non-invasive options like steroid injections or laser treatments. However, conservative modalities often require multiple sessions, accruing costs over time.

Size and Severity of the Keloid – Larger, painful keloids with dark discoloration require more aggressive, intensive treatment regimens, increasing overall costs. Smaller, milder growths need less extensive measures.

Location on the Body – Facial keloids demand greater aesthetic precision, while keloids over joints cause more physical symptoms, impacting treatment intensity needed.

Geographic Region and Type of Treatment Center – Major metro area hospital surgical centers understandably have far higher overhead and procedural rates than small town clinic options.

Doctor Specialist Expertise – Board certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons cost more per session than general practitioners given advanced training and experience.

Number of Sessions/Treatments Required – Most keloids require multiple injections, laser or radiation sessions over weeks or months for permanent clearance, accruing costs.

You might also like our articles about the cost of microneedling, Tommy John surgery, or Parotidectomy.

Insurance Coverage and Financing

Coverage through Health Insurance Plans

  • Some insurance policies cover a portion of keloid treatment costs if deemed medically necessary rather than purely cosmetic.
  • Typically applied to surgical excision procedures and post-surgical radiation protocols due to higher medical necessity.
  • Pre-approvals are advised to confirm coverage specifics and limits.

Out-of-Pocket Cost Expectations

  • Even insured patients should expect to pay some expenses stemming from deductibles, copays, coinsurance percentages, and benefit limits.
  • Non-invasive modalities like laser therapy, cryotherapy and steroid injections often fall under cosmetic exclusions with no coverage.

Multi-Month Payment Plans Through Treatment Centers

  • Reputable keloid treatment clinics often offer customizable financing programs allowing patients to budget costs over 6, 12, 18, or 24 months.
  • Payment plans make expensive procedures like surgery or laser treatments more affordable.

Medical Credit Cards

  • Specialized healthcare credit cards like CareCredit can be used to pay for keloid procedures at participating practices and then be paid off over time.
  • Useful options for uninsured patients or when insurance falls short of total costs.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

  • HSA funds can be applied tax-free towards keloid treatments since the condition represents a medical diagnosis.

Reviewing policy details thoroughly helps maximize coverage and arrange manageable financing.

Keloid Removal Costs by Geographic Region

Keloid Scar on BackMajor Metropolitan Areas – 25% to 45% higher costs – Large cities with higher costs of living and commercial rent have the most overhead, so surgical centers and clinics charge premium rates.

Suburban Areas – Mid-range pricing – A blend of general dermatology practices and specialty scar treatment centers creates middle-ground median pricing.

Small Towns and Rural Areas – 20% to 40% lower costs – Smaller town doctors offer more affordable rates but less experience with newer modalities. Travel to cities may be required for laser therapy access.

International Treatment for Cost Savings – Overseas clinics in countries like Mexico and Thailand market significantly discounted pricing, although flight costs often offset savings. Vet credentials carefully.

Shopping around locally helps uncover the best combination of affordable pricing and reputable expertise when considering keloid treatment.

Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon?

Dermatology Clinic Advantages

  • Extensive experience with scar conditions, both surgical and pharmaceutical treatment methods.
  • Treat many early and moderate keloid cases non-invasively and affordably.
  • Established patients pay $250-$400 per visit or treatment session.

Plastic Surgeon Benefits

  • Highly advanced training and expertise in scar revision surgery techniques.
  • Handle severe, stubborn keloids requiring meticulous excision and reconstruction.
  • Consultation fees span $500-$850 prior to surgery quoting.

Careful record review and referral requests help identify the right specialist for individual keloid characteristics and treatment goals.

Long-Term Cost Commitments

  • Reoccurrence is unfortunately common after initial improvement, requiring diligent follow-up treatments and expenses.
  • Consistent follow-up laser sessions, cryotherapy, or steroid injections help sustain results long-term.
  • Prescription scar gels, sheets and pads are often used for 6-12 months during the remodeling process.
  • Closely following physician recommendations provides the greatest probability of a permanent cure and optimizes the cost-effectiveness of treatment.

Having realistic expectations about the duration and costs associated with keloid removal improves satisfaction and outcomes.

Final Words

Keloids can cause significant emotional distress and physical discomfort for patients. While keloid removal treatments range widely in approach from minimally invasive steroid injections to radical excision surgery, the right regimen tailored to each individual’s scar characteristics and treatment goals can provide immense improvements in both appearance and symptom relief.

However, patience and consistency are crucial, as keloids are stubbornly persistent. With realistic expectations about the process, vast improvements in comfort, confidence and quality of life are attainable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many sessions does it take to get rid of a keloid?

Most keloids require 4-8 laser or freezing treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart for optimal flattening and reduction. Combining non-invasive modalities provides the best outcome. Your doctor will advise on expected sessions based on the keloid’s specifics.

What are the risks of removing a keloid?

Possible side effects include pain, temporary skin discoloration, infection risk, recurrence, scarring if extensive excision is required, nerve damage, and failure to achieve desired aesthetic improvement. Make an informed decision weighing benefits against potential risks.

What to avoid after keloid removal?

Avoid sun exposure on the surgery site, vigorous activity that could tear stitches, getting the area wet in baths or pools, picking at scabs, using irritating skin products, and missing follow-up appointments to monitor recovery. Follow your doctor’s wound care instructions closely.

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