What is meant by xanthelasma?
Xanthelasma (yellow nodules) are small, mostly yellow, sharply defined deposits of fat or cholesterol in the skin. The yellowish fatty nodules usually appear after the age of 40 and are often the result of a lipometabolic disorder.
The yellowish plaques are often found above the eyes or on the nasal side in the inner corner of the eyelids. They usually occur on both sides of the face and are caused by cholesterol deposits in the tissue.
Xanthelasma can be round or elongated, have a smooth surface and are easily recognisable by their typical yellowish colour. Apart from the fatty deposit on the eye, it mainly affects the knees, hands, elbows or Achilles tendons. Over the years, these yellowish nodules appear more frequently and often become larger. From a medical point of view, xanthelasma are mainly harmless and not contagious, but they are often considered visually disturbing. Since they cannot disappear on their own, they must be removed by a competent dermatologist.
Xanthelasma can be an expression of an often hereditary lipometabolic disorder (hyperlipidaemia) and often occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus. However, yellow nodules can also develop in patients whose blood count shows a normal total cholesterol value, but the HDL cholesterol is too low. If there is chronic inflammation of the bile ducts (biliary cirrhosis), lipid deposits occur in 25 % of patients due to the excretion disorder of cholesterol. A generally unhealthy lifestyle also promotes the occurrence of xanthelasma.
Regardless of the blood lipid levels, the occurrence of xanthelasma is considered an indicator of an existing increased cardiovascular risk and should be taken as an opportunity to have the metabolism and cardiovascular system examined by an internist.
Removing Xanthelasma - Treatment Options
For medical reasons, cholesterol deposits on the eye only need to be removed if the function of the eyelids is impaired (ptosis).
If a lipometabolic disorder is the cause, the underlying disease must be treated with an appropriate diet and lipid-lowering drugs. However, this only works against the development of further xanthelasma, existing ones usually do not disappear. It is not possible to remove the xanthelasma with medication.
In our surgeries in Vienna and in Tulln, which are equipped with the latest technology, we can offer you the gentlest and most modern methods of Xanthelasma removal offer.
A good method of removing xanthelasma is with the ultra-modern CO₂ laser. The removal can be carried out precisely and without damaging the surrounding tissue. The short pulses of the laser remove the uppermost layers of skin without any significant side effects. Immediately after the treatment, reddening may occur, then small incrustations form which fall off after about two weeks. The smaller the xanthelasma, the gentler the removal. That is why we recommend having them removed at the first appearance of such fat nodules.
Innovative: Ablation with the Plasma Pen
Alternatively, we can offer you a gentle, low-pain method for removing excess skin. The Plasma Pen works with modern plasma technology. An ionised arc of light acts over the tip of the plasma pen, without direct skin contact. The combination of radio waves and plasma light vaporises the unwanted fat deposits in a flash and with pinpoint accuracy. This non-invasive procedure is low-risk and gentle on the skin. The result is immediately visible.
Surgical removal of xanthelasma
During excision (removing xanthelasma with a scalpel), the doctor cuts out the affected area. In the immediate vicinity of the eyes, the treating doctors have to work especially carefully. Scars may remain and the skin may be red after the operation. Suture removal in the surgical method, unless a self-dissolving material was used, takes place one week after the operation.
Removal with simultaneous upper eyelid lift
Those who suffer from a drooping upper eyelid can also have the xanthelasma removed at the same time as an upper eyelid lift.
Frequently asked questions about removing xanthelasma
Can the formation of xanthelasma be prevented or slowed down?
Complementary medicine emphasises the need for a change of diet to a balanced, low-fat whole food diet. Overweight should be reduced in the long term.
The aim is to bring blood lipid levels into the normal range. The intake of omega-3 fatty acids, for example from fish oil, can help to lower blood lipids. In natural form, omega3 is found in salmon and mackerel, but it is also available in capsule or drop form from health food stores or pharmacies.
How to calm swellings caused by xanthelasma?
Banana peels can be used to naturally improve swelling or irritation caused by cholesterol deposits on the eyelids. Bananas have anti-inflammatory effects and are a cheap and natural remedy to soothe xanthelasma. To do this, cut the banana peel into pieces and place on the irritated regions for 15 minutes.
How dangerous are xanthelasma?
The yellow nodules are harmless in themselves, but they are unsightly and can indicate that it is a serious disease. A dermatologist must be consulted immediately because the fat is also deposited in other organs and vessels.
Can xanthelasma come back after removal?
Xanthelasma recurs in about 40 % of cases. Even with minimally invasive treatments, such as laser, the xanthelasma can be expected to recur in the same location.
One of the best options for permanent removal is the Eyelid liftThe growths are removed over a very large area during this procedure. It is also advisable to determine the reasons for the development of the xanthelasma. They can point to a serious disease.