An international, trainee led survey on the public understanding of keloid scars

Dr Guy Stanley1, Mr Jonathon Pleat2, Dr Diana Lim, Ms Elizabeth Pitt3

1Central Coast local health district, Gosford, Australia,
2Department of Plastic Surgery, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, England
3University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff
4Restore Research, Nether Winchendon, England

Keloids are pathological scars with physical and psychological symptoms. There is little research into the public perception of keloids. We conducted the first international study into the public knowledge of keloids and how it varies between populations.

An anonymised questionnaire was designed to test knowledge of keloid epidemiology, aetiology, symptoms and treatment between Ghana, Australia and Canada. Education about keloids was offered at each encounter. A protocol was followed to minimise bias and encourage consistency between surveyors.

300 individuals were surveyed, with median age 34 (140 females, 160 males). In Ghana 10% had keloids, compared to 7% in Australia and 2% in Canada. In Ghana 52% knew at least 1 person with a keloid compared to 23% in Australia and 32% in Canada. In Australia 51% correctly identified keloids as scars compared to 45% in Ghana. A ‘knowledge score’ was calculated from 0-9 with 0 representing no knowledge about the nature of keloids and treatment. Those in Ghana scored most highly (median 5.8) compared to Australia 5 and Canada 2.6.

We show that the public have little real knowledge about keloids and are unaware of new treatment options. Knowledge was highest where most keloids were found. Australia has Aboriginal and Asian populations which may account for a greater level of understanding than the public in Canada.

F2 Abroad doctor.

Currently PGY2 Resident Medical Officer in General Surgery at Gosford Hospital.

Lieutenant, 212 Field Hospital British Army Reserves


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