What is Xanthelasma?

Xanthelasmas are yellowish spots on the inner aspects of the upper and lower eyelid that are due to fat deposits in the skin.


Is Xanthelasma common in men or women?

Xanthelasma is more common in women. It can occur at any age, but most common in the 40s and 50s.


Is Xanthelasma dangerous?

Xanthelasma are benign and not considered dangerous in the medical sense and rarely cause functional problems. 


What causes Xanthelasma?

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.


Is Xanthelasma linked to other conditions?

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


Why is it recommended to treat Xanthelasma early?

Xanthelasma starts small and gradually grows. It is easier to treat small lesion as they are located in the inner part of the eyelid where there limited amount of excess skin. So, if you treat this early it can help avoid any secondary eyelid problems such a tight scar that may result in difficulty closing the eye.


What happens if you don’t treat Xanthelasma? 

Since Xanthelasma is asymptomatic, it will not cause any functional problems. As it gradually grows bigger it will become more visible and harder to cover up with make-up. Since xanthelasma occurs on the inner aspect of the upper eyelids where there is less skin, surgical excision is easier when the xanthelasma spots are smaller. 


What does the microscopic appearance of the Xanthelasma show?

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.


What is the recommended treatment for Xanthelasma?

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. 


Are there other forms of Non-Surgical treatment of Xanthelasma?

Systemic therapy using anti-cholesterol agents like Probucol and Alirocumab
Topical therapy such at TCA chemical peel, Liquid Nitrogen cryotherapy
Energy Based Devices like Radio Frequency ablation, laser ablation, CO2 laser, Erbium laser, Nd:YAG laser, Argon Laser, KTP laser


Does Xanthelasma recur after treatment?

Unfortunately, recurrence is seen following treatment of Xanthelasma as the underlying cause remains elusive to diagnose and difficult to treat.




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.    

Risks for xanthelasma are recurrence, infection, sensation change, scars, and unsatisfactory results.             


DISCLAIMERS:   All surgical procedures are performed by Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Naveen Somia (MBBS PhD, FRACS - APHRA Reg:  MED 0001189889).  For full information on Dr Somia's qualifications and risk/recovery information on procedures please visit the procedure page on this website.  From July 1, 2023 all surgical procedures require a GP referral.
All surgery carries risks.  information provided is general only.  Outcomes experienced by one person do not necessarily reflect the outcomes of others given factors such as genetics, diet and exercise.  Please seek a 2nd opinion from a qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon.  

Book a consultation

or call: 02 9387 2110


Royal Australasian College of Surgeons


Plastic Surgery Research University of Louisville


Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh


PACES Plastic Surgery Atlanta USA