Other Names: Skin growths – fatty; Xanthelasma
A xanthoma, from Greek xanthos, “yellow”, is a deposition of yellowish cholesterol-rich material that can appear anywhere in the body in various disease states.It is a skin condition in which certain fats build up under the surface of the skin. They are cutaneous manifestations of lipidosis in which lipids accumulate in large foam cells within the skin. They are associated with hyperlipidemias, both primary and secondary types.
Tendon xanthomas are associated with type II hyperlipidemia, chronic biliary tract obstruction, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Palmar xanthomata and tuboeruptive xanthomata (over knees and elbows) occur in type III hyperlipidemia.
A xanthelasma is a sharply demarcated yellowish collection of cholesterol underneath the skin, usually on or around the eyelids. Strictly, a xanthelasma is a distinct condition, only being called a xanthoma when becoming larger and nodular, assuming tumorous proportions. Still, it is often classified simply as a subtype of xanthoma.
Xanthoma tuberosum (also known as tuberous xanthoma) is characterized by xanthomas located over the joints.
Xanthoma tendinosum (also tendon xanthoma or tendinous xanthoma) is clinically characterized by papules and nodules found in the tendons of the hands, feet, and heel. Also associated with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
Eruptive xanthoma (ILDS E78.220) is clinically characterized by small, yellowish-orange to reddish-brown papules that appear all over the body. It tends to be associated with elevated triglycerides.
Xanthoma planum (ILDS D76.370), also known as plane xanthoma, is clinically characterized by macules and plaques spread diffusely over large areas of the body.
Palmar xanthoma is clinically characterized by yellowish plaques that involve the palms and flexural surfaces of the fingers. Plane xanthomas are characterised by yellowish to orange, flat macules or slightly elevated plaques, often with a central white area which may be localised or generalised. They often arise in the skin folds, especially the palmar creases. They occur in hyperlipoproteinaemia type III and type IIA, and in association with biliary cirrhosis. The presence of palmar xanthomata, like the presence of tendinous xanthomata, is indicative of hypercholesterolaemia.
Tuberoeruptive xanthoma (ILDS E78.210) is clinically characterized by red papules and nodules that appear inflamed and tend to coalesce.:532 Tuberous xanthomata are considered similar, and within the same disease spectrum as eruptive xanthomata.
A xanthoma looks like a yellow to orange bump (papule) with defined borders.
Xanthomas are common, especially among older adults and people with high blood lipids.
Xanthomas vary in size. Some are very small. Others are bigger than 3 inches in diameter. They appear anywhere on the body, but are most often seen on the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, or buttocks.
Xanthomas may be a sign of a medical condition that involves an increase in blood lipids. Such conditions include:
*Inherited metabolic disorders such as familial hypercholesterolemia
*Primary biliary cirrhosis
Xanthelasma palpebra, a common type of xanthoma that appears on the eyelids and may occur without any underlying medical condition, is not necessarily associated with elevated cholesterol or lipids.
Your health care provider will examine the skin. Usually, a diagnosis of xanthoma can be made by looking at your skin. A biopsy of the growth will show a fatty deposit.
You may have blood tests done to check lipid levels, liver function, and for diabetes.
If you have a disease that causes increased blood lipids, treating the condition may help reduce the development of xanthomas.
If the growth bothers you, your doctor may remove it. But xanthomas may come back after surgery.
The growth is non-cancerous and painless, but may be a sign of another medical condition.
Control of blood lipids, including triglycerides and cholesterol levels, may help reduce development of xanthomas.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.