Treatment for Keloid Scars Goes Painless
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 Treatment for Keloid Scars Goes Painless

 Treatment for Keloid Scars Goes Painless

  05 Oct 2018

Treatment for Keloid Scars Goes Painless
National Skin Centre develops the first of its kind drug-embedded microneedle patch as an alternative method to shrink keloid scars
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Patients at the National Skin Centre (NSC) will soon be able to opt for a painless treatment for their keloid scars. Researchers from NSC have developed an innovative method that uses dissolving microneedles, which are about a hundred times smaller than the needle used for conventional keloid injections, to administer the medication - triamcinolone - onto the affected area without pain. The triamcinolone-embedded dissolving microneedle patch is the first of its kind in the world.

Keloid scars can be unsightly, painful and itchy. A large keloid in the skin over a joint may even interfere with joint function. Currently, NSC manages more than 5,000 keloid cases a year. Patients who wish to shrink their keloid scars make monthly visits to NSC for triamcinolone injections, which require regular doses for the treatment to be effective. However, this treatment is painful and deters other patients from receiving it, particularly children, who are unable to withstand the pain of injections. The novel dissolving microneedle patch therefore addresses this unmet clinical need.


In the clinical trial, patients self-administered the triamcinolone-embedded dissolving microneedle patch to one of their keloids daily over four weeks, with another keloid left untreated to function as a control. Results of the trial demonstrated significant reduction in keloid volume after treatment with the dissolving microneedles, with higher doses of triamcinolone leading to greater reduction. All the patients unanimously agreed that the new treatment is painless, with 88 per cent preferring it over injections.

The dissolving microneedle patch, which is designed for one-time use, takes mere minutes to apply and can be self-administered by patients at home. This saves patients time and cost of travelling to NSC to undergo keloid injections by the healthcare team. The self-management nature of this treatment also means that patients, even when overseas, are able to treat their keloid scars effectively and conveniently.

“NSC is excited to introduce this revolutionary treatment in the management of keloids. Besides being pain-free as compared with conventional treatment; the new method empowers our patients in self-care. We are heartened that our research efforts have not only translated into better health outcomes for our patients, but have also transformed how medication is administered for skin treatments. NSC remains committed to advancing dermatological care for our patients and population,” said Associate Professor Tan Suat Hoon, Director at National Skin Centre.

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Last updated on 31 Dec 2018