Pronounced: Zan-tha-las-ma; zan-tho-muh
by Diana Kohnle
Fatty lumps under the skin are called xanthomas. They range from very small to up to 3 inches in size. Xanthomas can be cosmetically disfiguring. Xanthomas may appear anywhere on the body. The most common places are the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, and buttocks.
If the fatty lumps are on the eyelids, it’s called xanthelasma.
Causes of xanthomas are:
Xanthelasma is connected to high fat levels in the blood. But, you can still have it without these problems.
Xanthoma is more common in older adults. Your chances are higher if you:
Xanthomas may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a skin exam will point to having xanthomas. You may also have:
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Xanthomas may go away on their own. Care depends on what’s causing them. This approach helps lower the chances of having them come back. Care may involve:
Options for removal may involve:
If you have them removed, it’s possible they will come back.
To help lower your chances of xanthomas, follow your care plan if you have high cholesterol or other metabolic problems.
American Academy of Dermatology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Dermatology Association
Shapiro M. Rare Genetic Disorders Altering Lipoproteins. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-2015 Jun 12.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115419/Hypertriglyceridemia . Updated June 4, 2018. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Xanthoma. DermNet NZ website. Available at: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/xanthoma. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Last Updated: 6/20/2018