Improvement in Scars using Steroid Injections / Intra-Lesional Steroid (Triamcinolone) Therapy
This leaflet has been designed to improve your understanding of your forthcoming treatment and contains answers to many of the common questions.
If you have any other questions that the leaflet does not answer or would like further explanation please ask a member of the medical or nursing staff.
What is Intra-Lesional Steroid Therapy?
Intra-lesional corticosteroid therapy is a procedure where a steroid solution is injected into the scar with the aim to improve the appearance and decrease the size of the scar.
The steroid most commonly used is called triamcinolone.
This works by increasing the activity of an enzyme called collagenase. This enzyme breaks down collagen in the scar so that the scar becomes less thick and red.
The steroid does not change the amount of collagen made by the cells nor does it decrease the number of cells making collagen; its action is primarily to remove some of the excess collagen from the scar.
This technique is commonly used in dermatology and plastic surgery, either alone or in combination with other forms of treatment, to treat a number of skin conditions.
Often multiple small injections are carried out and you will need more than one session of treatment.
Side Effects of the Treatment
There are a few side effects which you may experience; these tend to improve with time, your clinician may halt treatment if these cause any concern.
Common Side Effects
Pain: the procedure is generally well tolerated but injections into certain areas of the body, for example, palms of hands or soles of feet can be more sore.
Bleeding: small amounts of spotting with blood can occur after the injection.
Occasional Side Effects
Atrophy: shrinkage of the tissue at and around the sites of injection may occur. This results in a white depressed area, or small scar like areas. The face, genitalia and lips are more susceptible to this than other parts of the body.
Hyper / Hypo-Pigmentation: changes in pigmentation can occur at and around the sites of injection with either lightening or darkening of skin colour.
Telangiectasia: infrequently tiny dilated blood vessels or small red spots called purpura may become visible at the injection site.
Rare Side Effects
As the total dose of steroid being injected into the skin is small, the risk of the steroids being absorbed into the blood stream and producing generalised or systemic side effects are extremely small.
If you have any questions, please ask your clinician.