Xanthelasma is a sharply demarcated yellowish deposit of cholesterol
Cholesterol is a complex isoprenoid. Specifically, it is a waxy steroid of fat that is produced in the liver or intestines. It is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and is transported in the blood plasma of all mammals. It is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes...

 underneath the skin, usually on or around the eyelids. Although not harmful or painful, these minor growths may be disfiguring and can be removed. They are common in people of Asian origin and those from the Mediterranean region.

Because of the hereditary component, they may or may not indicate high blood levels of cholesterol. Where there is no family history of xanthelasmata, they usually indicate high cholesterol and may correlate with a risk of atheromatous
In pathology, an atheroma is an accumulation and swelling in artery walls that is made up of macrophage cells, or debris, that contain lipids , calcium and a variable amount of fibrous connective tissue...


A xanthelasma may instead be referred to as a xanthoma
A xanthoma , from Greek xanthos, ξανθος, "yellow", is a deposition of yellowish cholesterol-rich material in tendons or other body parts in various disease states...

when becoming larger and nodular, assuming tumorous proportions. Still, xanthelasma is often classified simply as a subtype of xanthoma.

In September 2011, a University of Copenhagen study on almost 13,000 people found people with Xanthelasma are 12% more likely to suffer from heart disease, and are more likely to have a heart attack or die within 10 years.


Xanthelasmata can be removed with a trichloroacetic acid
Trichloroacetic acid
Trichloroacetic acid is an analogue of acetic acid in which the three hydrogen atoms of the methyl group have all been replaced by chlorine atoms....

 peel, surgery, laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

s or cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy or the removal of heat from a body part. The term "cryotherapy" comes from the Greek cryo meaning cold and the word therapy meaning cure...

. Removal can cause scarring and pigment changes, but it is unusual after treatment with trichloroacetic acid.


The word is derived from Greek xanthos, ξανθός, "yellow" and έλασμα, elasma, "foil". The plural is xanthelasmata. Palpebrarum is Latin for 'of the eyebrow
The eyebrow is an area of thick, delicate hairs above the eye that follows the shape of the lower margin of the brow ridges of some mammals. Their main function is to prevent sweat, water, and other debris from falling down into the eye socket, but they are also important to human communication and...

s' (plural genitive case
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...



  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
    Familial hypercholesterolemia
    Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder characterized by high cholesterol levels, specifically very high levels of low-density lipoprotein , in the blood and early cardiovascular disease...

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
    Primary biliary cirrhosis
    Primary biliary cirrhosis, often abbreviated PBC, is an autoimmune disease of the liver marked by the slow progressive destruction of the small bile ducts within the liver. When these ducts are damaged, bile builds up in the liver and over time damages the tissue. This can lead to scarring,...

  • Menopause
    Menopause is a term used to describe the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries: the ripening and release of ova and the release of hormones that cause both the creation of the uterine lining and the subsequent shedding of the uterine lining...

  • Diabetes

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