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What is Xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma is a benign condition that is defined by cholesterol plaques which commonly present around the eyes. It is a skin lesion that is formed in the macrophages due to the accumulation of fat and appears commonly in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Xanthelasma plaques appear cream or yellow in colour and can be soft to touch. Initially, plaques will appear as smaller bumps, however, if left untreated will gradually continue to grow over proceeding weeks to months.

Xanthelasmas Treatment
  • How is Xanthelasma caused?
  • Who is Susceptible to Xanthelasma?
  • How Is Xanthelasma Treated?
  • What are the immediate post treatment effects and long term results?

Xanthelasma is a type of xanthoma. Xanthomas can be both primary and secondary.

Primary xanthoma is associated with hypercholesterolaemia, hypertriglyceridaemia, sitosterolaemia, cerobrotendinous xanthomatosis, and combined dyslipidaemia. Xanthelasma is part of the primary xanthoma and is generally associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, familial hypercholesterolaemia, and Tye II hyerlipoproteinaemia.

Secondary xanthoma, on the other hand, is associated with nephrotic syndrome, obesity, diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, cholestatic liver disease, and medications such as oral retinoids, oestogens, ciclosporin and tamoxifen.

Xanthoma is a disorder that generally occurs in people with histiocytosis or an abnormal rise of histiocytes, which are immune cells, or those with dyslipidaemias, which is an abnormally high amount of fats or cholesterol in the blood. It can affect both adults and children who are genetically inclined due to familial hypercholesterolaemia.

Xanthelasma treatment at MLAC has been successfully performed on thousands of Xanthelasma plaques without the need for surgery. Xanthelasma plaques do not resolve by themselves, therefore if they become cosmetically concerning, they can be removed by either electrocautery, diathermy or laser ablation. Although the Xanthelasma plaques are effectively treated, removal may not prevent future reoccurrence. At Melbourne Laser & Aesthetic Centre, we help find the most effective treatment options for xanthelasma based on the cause and the possible outcomes of treatment.

The Xanthelasma plaques are cauterised by electrocautery, fine needle diathermy or ablated by laser treatment. Following treatment, the area becomes inflamed and a crust appear, generally resolving over the week. A post treatment ointment is recommended to be continued for at least 7 days to optimize healing.

Additional 1-2 refinement treatments may be required in the case of large Xanthelasma plaques. Textural improvement may be required for individuals with many or large Xanthelasma plaques therefore Fractional laser resurfacing of the area may also be advised.

A comprehensive consultation with a MLAC Senior Dermal Clinician or Cosmetic Registered Nurse allows for proper assessment and treatment plan development. Please call our clinical experts on (03) 8686 5786.

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