Xanthelasmas are yellowish spots on the inner aspects of the upper and lower eyelid that are due to fat deposits in the skin.
Xanthelasma is more common in women. It can occur at any age, but most common in the 40s and 50s.
Xanthelasma are benign and not considered dangerous in the medical sense and rarely cause functional problems.
There is no known cause, but it may indicate an underlying plasma lipid disorder in approximately 50% of patients caused by lipid, cholesterol, lipoprotein or apolipoprotein abnormality. Therefore, patients should be tested for underlying causes of hyperlipidaemia.
Presence of Xanthelasma may be a predictor of risk for myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, severe atherosclerosis, and death in the general population. Christofferson M et al. BMJ. 2011; 343: d5497
The yellowish patches on the eyelid skin show numerous clusters of cholesterol laden histiocytes or foam cells involving the entire thickness of the dermis of the eyelid skin, hence excising the entire thickness of the skin is essential treatment.
Surgery is the best form of treatment because it is easy to remove the full thickness of the skin and easy to close if the defect is small. The eyelid wound will heal in 2 weeks and the scar will be barely visible in 3- 4 months.
The surgery takes approximately 1 hour in rooms under local anaesthesia.
Each patient recovers at a different rate and anothers recovery should not be compared with yours. Generally, initial recovery is 1-2 weeks.
You can return to work when you feel able.
All surgery carries risks. When travelling overseas on a plane whilst the expectation is a safe journey and arrival, it is understood things could go wrong. The choice of the airline based on safety record and flight path are important elements in determining risk. Similarly, for your surgery, the experience and expertise of your Surgeon, the skill of your anaesthetist and the standard of the hospital will determine the risk. Risks, both general and specific, will be discussed during your consultations and written information will be provided for you to take home.