Xanthelasmas are collections of cholesterol that form in the skin and create unsightly yellow plaques. They most often occur in the upper and lower eyelids. While they can be associated with having high cholesterol, this is not always the case.
Eyelid xanthelasmas are harmless, not painful, and do not need to be removed. The indication to remove them are only for aesthetic reasons. Because xanthelasmas can be associated with high cholesterol, it is important to have your cholesterol checked by your primary care physician. It is important to know that lowering high cholesterol levels will not cause xanthelasmas to go away.
Xanthelasmas are treated by direct surgical excision as an office treatment using local anaesthesia. While the injection may sting, the procedure is completely painless. The white or yellow areas are surgically removed, and typically the incisions are closed with dissolving sutures to speed up healing. Once the procedure is finished, a small amount of antibiotic ointment is applied to the area.
Common to all surgical procedures there are always risks associated with surgery. However, complications are uncommon. Mild discomfort is expected for the first 3 – 5 days. Bruising is uncommon and may take 5 days to resolve, while major bleeding is rare. Infection is infrequent and will require a course of appropriate antibiotics.
Skincare and sun protection are necessary during the recovery period. Results are long-term.