Back

Xanthelasma and Xanthoma

Definition

Xanthoma is a condition in which fatty deposits form beneath the skin. They range from very small to up to 3 inches in size. Xanthomas can be cosmetically disfiguring. Xanthomas may appear anywhere on the body, but are most frequently found on the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, and buttocks.
Xanthelasma is a form of xanthoma that appears on the eyelids.

Causes

Xanthoma is typically caused by:
Although xanthelasma may be associated with high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, it can occur without cholesterol problems.

Risk Factors

Xanthoma is more common in older adults. Factors that may increase your chance of xanthoma include:

Symptoms

Xanthoma may cause:
Xanthomas may be tender, itchy, and painful.

Diagnosis

Xanthoma is usually diagnosed by examining the skin growths. A biopsy of the tissue will confirm a fatty deposit.
Skin Biopsy
Skin proceedure
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
A blood lipid profile and other tests may be done to determine the underlying condition responsible for the appearance of xanthomas.

Treatment

Treating xanthoma consists of treating and controlling the underlying health conditions that cause the fatty deposits to develop. Better control of the metabolic disorders that can lead to xanthoma can reduce their occurrence.
Xanthomas that are removed can return after treatment.
Other treatment options for xanthomas include:

Surgery

Surgery may be used to remove the fatty deposits.

Laser

Laser surgery with CO2 laser, pulse-dye laser, or Erbium-YAG laser can be done.

Chemical

Treatment with trichloroacetic acid may also be used to treat xanthomas.

Prevention

To help reduce your chances of xanthoma:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca

HealthLinkBC http://www.healthlinkbc.ca

References

Xanthomas. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermal-infiltrative/xanthoma.html. Updated November 8, 2014. Accessed May 16, 2016. Shapiro M. Rare Genetic Disorders Altering Lipoproteins. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. 2015 Jun 12.

Revision Information