What is Xanthelasma?
Xanthelasma, also known as cholesterol deposit are flat, yellow plaques that are most frequently found at the inner corner of the eyelids. They occur more often on the upper eyelid, but can be found on all four lids at once. Often, they appear symmetrically, on both eyes at once. Their texture can vary from soft to hard, but they do not affect the function of the eye. The plaque will grow slowly in size, so surgical intervention is necessary to get rid of it. They are more commonly found in people in their 40s to 50s, and women as opposed to men. They have no potential to turn cancerous, but they are correlated to people with high cholesterol.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Xanthelasma are characterized by flat yellow plaques at the inner corner of the eyes. If you have high cholesterol, it is very likely that you have xanthelasma. Please check with your family doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Xanthelasma can also be a predictor of heart problems, so make sure you consult your doctor for any tests that may need to be done.
What kind of tests can I undergo?
Your doctor can usually identify a xanthelasma just by visual examination. Occasionally, a skin biopsy, where a portion of the lesion is excised for testing, may help with the diagnosis.
What are the treatment options?
Usually, no immediate treatment is necessary for xanthelasma. However, many people with xanthelasma do tend to seek treatment, especially since the lesion is always continually growing. This is usually for cosmetic reasons. Although they can be treated with laser, chemicals or by freezing it, surgical excision has the best results and the lowest chance of the lesion recurring. Make sure you see your doctor as soon as the signs of xanthelasma appear. If left too long, the lesion could grow so large that the surgery to excise it could affect the eyelid folds and eye margins.
What can I expect from surgery?
The surgical procedure to remove xanthelasma is quite easy. The surgery itself would typically take approximately 15 minutes. Local freezing would be used, and about 20-30 minutes would be added to the surgery time to allow for the freezing to set in. However, because of the local freezing, the patient would be fit to drive home afterwards. Once the specimen has been excised, it will be sent to a lab to be tested for any malignancy and to confirm the diagnosis. Stitches will be needed, and will typically be removed 5-14 days later, depending on the size and location of surgery. Redness is normal even after the stitches have been taken out, but after 4-6 months the scar should be hardly visible. There should be minimal to no pain after the local freezing has worn off, but Tylenol Extra Strength can be taken if there is.
What are the risks?
The risks of excising xanthelasma are very rare but can include infection, suture reactions, bleeding, bruising, and scarring. If the lesion is too large, it can also affect the shape of your eye. Please speak to your doctor about any medications you are taking and if you have had abnormal scarring (keloids or hypertrophic scars) in the past.
How much will it cost?
Unfortunately, the surgery to remove xanthelasma is not covered by OHIP. A consultation with Dr. Hong is recommended to find out the exact price for your procedure. Without a referral from your family doctor, an $95 consultation fee will be required, but it will be applied towards the cost of the surgery. There is no additional fee for follow up appointments such as the removal of sutures.
In the greater Toronto area, Dr. Hong is regarded as a highly accomplished Toronto nose surgery, ear surgery, brow lift and facelift specialist. He is also instrumental in helping eyelid surgery Toronto patients attain their goal of a more youthful, dynamic facial profile.
Nevus: Before Treatment
Nevus: After Treatment
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Frequently Asked Questions
If you are concerned with the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne and other form of skin damage caused by environmental factors or aging.
Chemical peels can leave the skin to look more youthful, radiant, fresh and healthy. A mixture of chemicals is applied onto the skin and it strips off dead/damaged skin cells to allow for new and healthier skin growth.
Any form of treatment comes with the risk of infection. Patients will experience a burning sensation, redness, and sensitivity to the sunlight. If you are no protecting yourself from sun exposure and not using bleaching agents you may develop hyperpigmentation. Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the chemical peel and swelling.
Microdermabrasion and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), laser and RF devices are possible alternative.
Surgical options are mostly effective for reducing fine lines/wrinkles, such as different types of laser resurfacing, face-lift and autologous fat grafting. It is best to discuss this during your consultation.
It is not mandatory and patients will not experience serious adverse effects, therefore it is dependent whether the patient is willing to take time off from their daily routine and set aside a week to avoid any contact with other people.
The chemical peel will be done in my office.
Yes and it is dependent on the sensitivity of your skin, skin colour/pigmentation, age, the severity of skin damage, and degree of chemical peel.
Photos previous patients that have undergone different types of chemical peels are provided and can be found on my website or through consultation.
Photos (before & after) of previous patients are provided and can be found on my website or through consultation.
The results usually last for months to years, however the duration is dependent on how well the patient is able to follow preoperative and post operative skin care instructions and their efforts to avoid excess exposure to sunlight.
This will depend on the amount of sessions needed and the degree of chemical peel needed.
The first week, there will be redness and possible scabbing but it will go down as time goes by.
The procedure can vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
There is no pain but patients will feel a burning sensation.
Patients can return to their normal routine right away, however to look presentable (reduce in redness), it may take up to a week or even longer if the peel is deeper.
It is suggested patient comes in 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time, and that the patient has set aside some time for the procedure and recovery.
The contact information is available on my website.
- Call your doctor if you think of other questions
Please email or call my office.
- Make sure you have the doctor’s contact information
- How long will my procedure take?
It can range from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
- Make sure your procedure has been confirmed
- Confirm any allergies and side-effects you might have
- Make sure you understand and have signed the informed consent forms
Patients should strictly follow all postoperative care instructions.
Patients should take all efforts to avoid sunlight and avoid swimming.
Patients are allowed to shower as soon as they wish.
Patients should book an appointment to return in 10 days.
- You have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- You notice increased redness, swelling, warmth, or pain around your procedural area
- You have persistent stiffness, numbness/tingling, or weakness of your face
- You have pain that your existing pain medications cannot control
Apply lotions and sunscreens to sun-exposed areas until the healing process is complete Please follow our post treatment instruction and cream. Follow your doctor’s instructions on resuming normal daily activities