Dr. Amir Bajoghli and the Skin and Laser Dermatology Center of McLean and Woodbridge, Virginia now offer the latest laser technology to treat a condition known as “xanthelasma.” Xanthelasma often appears as a soft, yellowish deposit of fat around the upper and lower eyelids. These velvety soft lesions often start as small bumps and gradually enlarge over the course of a few months to larger plaques. . While usually benign and painless, xanthelasma may become unsightly. However, it is important to see a dermatologist to differentiate between other similar appearing conditions, which may not be benign. Xanthelasma affects about 1% of the western population and has a higher incidence in females, those over the age of 30, and in many individuals it is associated with elevated levels of cholesterol and/or other lipids. This is why it is important to check the blood lipid levels in patients with xanthelasma to detect any lab abnormalities early on. However, despite normal lipid levels the xanthelasma lesions will not resolve on their own and will persist without treatment.
A state of the art and highly effective laser known as the fractional CO2 resurfacing laser is one of the treatments of choice for xanthelasma. Topical numbing cream is applied beforehand, and lidocaine injections may also be used for additional anesthesia (numbing) of the treatment area. The procedure is done within a few minutes. In most cases the lesions disappear in one to two sessions and rarely recur. The treatment areas may take a few days to completely heal following the laser treatment depending on the depth of the lesion. Patients will come back for a follow up visit after several days to monitor the healing process.