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Eyelid Growths


Richard C. Allen

, MD, PhD, University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School

Reviewed/Revised Feb 2024
Topic Resources

The skin of the eyelids is a common site for benign and malignant growths.


Xanthelasma is a common, benign deposit of yellow-white flat plaques of lipid material that occur subcutaneously on the upper and lower eyelids. Although some people with xanthelasmas have dyslipidemias Dyslipidemia Dyslipidemia is elevation of plasma cholesterol, triglycerides (TGs), or both, or a low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level that contributes to the development of atherosclerosis... read more Dyslipidemia , most do not. Diagnosis is by appearance. No treatment is necessary, although xanthelasmas can be removed for cosmetic reasons, and underlying dyslipidemias should be treated.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma Basal Cell Carcinoma Basal cell carcinoma is a superficial, slowly growing papule or nodule that derives from certain epidermal cells. Basal cell carcinomas arise from keratinocytes near the basal layer, which are... read more Basal Cell Carcinoma frequently occurs at the eyelid margins and classically is associated with loss of eyelashes as shown, at the inner canthus, and on the upper cheek. Metastasis is rare. Biopsy establishes the diagnosis.

Treatment is surgical excision using conventional techniques or by Mohs surgery. For locally advanced or metastatic basal cell carcinoma, treatment with small-molecule inhibitors of the Hedgehog signaling pathway (eg, vismodegib or sonidegib) show promise to avoid resection of the globe (1 General reference The skin of the eyelids is a common site for benign and malignant growths. A xanthelasma is a slightly raised, yellow-white, well-circumscribed plaque that typically appears along the nasal... read more General reference ).

Other malignant growths

General reference

  • 1. Allen RC: Surgical management of periocular cancers: High- and low-risk features drive treatment. Curr Oncol Rep 19(9):57, 2017. doi: 10.1007/s11912-017-0618-1

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