For patients with scars that are raised and firm, injecting the lesions with corticosteroids can be an effective treatment since these medications help flatten and shrink down the scars. Patients with keloidal or hypertrophic scars are good candidates for interlesional injections, while patients with atrophic scars that are sunken or pitted do not usually benefit.
Corticosteroids are powerful drugs that are used to treat inflammation from variety of conditions, from allergies and asthma to joint and connective tissue diseases. Corticosteroids work by replicating the work of the cortisone and hydrocortisone, hormones that occur naturally in the body and help control immune function and inflammation. This added dose of chemically similar agents helps suppress inflammation.
For patients with severely inflamed cystic acne, injecting corticosteroids can help prevent rupture and scarring. Physicians inject a much-diluted solution into cysts and lesions that usually melt or shrink them away in three to five days.
Corticosteroids have many side effects, from high blood pressure and weight gain to mood swings and lowered resistance to infection. However, longer courses of oral steroids are most likely to cause pronounced side effects since they affect the entire body. The side effects of injected steroids occur near the site of the injection and may include pain, shrinking of soft tissue or loss of skin color.
Last updated: 05-Dec-08