Xanthomas are lesions that appear on the skin, or on the fatty tissues directly beneath the skin, and are caused by the accumulation of fat inside the skin's immune cells. They can be found on nearly every part of the body including the eyelids, browbone, hands, legs and feet, and can be removed by surgical excision or with laser surgery.
Laser surgery for the removal of xanthomas works by emitting radiation and heat energy to the problematic cells to stimulate and heat up the tissues until they burst. Xanthomas may shrink or be destroyed completely after one or several sessions of laser treatment. In some cases, follow-up sessions with milder lasers may be necessary.
There are several types of laser treatments available for the removal of xanthomas. The most effective lasers for xanthoma removal are ultrapulsed carbon dioxide laser; Er:YAG laser treatments; and argon laser therapy. Each one offers a different set of benefits and drawbacks.
Laser treatments are effective forms of ablation therapy for removing skin lesions such as xanthomas because they vaporise damaged skin cells and improve the skin's texture overall. Immediately after treatment, the skin will appear red and blotchy. A few days after the treatment, the skin will begin to heal, and the underlying skin will begin to rebuild rapidly resulting in a smoother, more resilient skin texture. The xanthomas may be removed completely after one, or a series of laser treatments.
Out of all the treatments available for the removal or reduction of xanthomas, laser therapy continues to be one of the most effective for all skin types and conditions. Since xanthomas can appear on very delicate skin tissues such as the eyelids or browbones, laser therapy can be used to deliver a very targeted treatment with few risks and side effects. Laser treatment typically results in the xanthomas being resolved within two or three weeks. Any recurrences can then be treated with milder versions of the laser.
Even though the lesions may shrink or appear to be destroyed, recurrences are common. Most people who have xanthomas must make some dietary changes and take medication that lowers the levels of lipid production in the body, thereby reducing the risk of redevelopment of xanthomas. With some laser therapies, there is a risk of hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, bleeding, infection and scarring.
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