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 are not painful or dangerous, but 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:
  • Elevated levels of fats in the blood
  • Metabolic disorders including:
Although xanthelasma may be associated with high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, it can occur without cholesterol problems.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of xanthoma include:
  • Having a metabolic disorder listed above
  • Having extremely high cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels
  • Increased age

Symptoms

Xanthoma may cause:
  • Bumps under the skin
  • Skin lesions that are:
    • Many different shapes
    • Yellow to orange
    • Have well-defined borders
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.

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