Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Xanthelasma Removal - My Experiences

I wanted to share my Xantelasma experience with you which hopefully you will find useful.  I really wish someone gave me this advice when I was researching Xantelasma as it would have saved me a lot of time.  However I guess all the research has sort of made me an "expert" so I feel good having done all the work nontheless. 

I had these ugly bumps called Xanthelasma around my eyes for years.  I thought about removing them several years ago but a couple things caused me to rethink removal.  First, it wasn't covered by insurance which bothered me.  They claim its "cosmetic".  It's not like i'm getting a facelift.  There are actual ugly bumps that seem to continue to grow around my eyes!  How is that "cosmetic"?  They are abnomal growths!  Regardless, the main reason I postponed doing anything about removing them was because the option I was contimplating was having them surgically removed.  I felt that a surgeon taking a knife and cutting out these little things was sort of overkill and dangerous.  They cut big incisions around the eyes, they would have to stitch them up afterwards and then you have to hope they heal without scars.  No way I was going to do that.  I felt that there had to be a better, safer and frankly less uncomfortable way. 

So I researched on and off.  I would spend more time researching after I noticed someone looking at them closely while I talk to them.  Really uncomfortable.  So finally, I decided I was gonig to dive into the research and just get them removed once and for all. 

I researched the many different way to remove Xanthelasma and one particular procedure caught my attention.  It was called "Radiosurgery".   Radiosurgery does not involve a knife cutting into your skin.  Instead its a non-pressure, smooth, incision that produces no blood.  Sort of like a laser but with less heat and tissue alteration (I've had to do some cutting and pasting from some materials I read to give you this description).  The doctor can easily hold the radiosurgery device...sort of like a small pencil with a small laser as a tip.  It cuts the skin without a blade thus less risky.  There are no sutures or stiches afterward either.  There is some swelling but some ice packs after surgery help keep that in line. 

I was living on the west coast at the time so I researched dematologists that have radiosurgery machines in the offices.  I found one and set up a consultation.  They said they can do the procedure.  I was a little nervous because this particular doctor never used the radiosurgery device on xanthelasma before.  But she seemed competent and careful so I agreed to do it. 

I came in the office on the day of surgery, they laid me down (face up) on a table, they injected my eyelids with something that numbs them so I don't feel anything around my eyes.  Then she took this little pencil and slowly and gently cut these things out of my eyelids.  I felt no pain except I did feel the heat a little but wasn't painful.  I was wide awake during everything but I didn't feel any pain at all.  1It was definitely awkward and uncomfortable having this procedure happening so darn close to my eyes.  But I was glad she wasn't using a knife!

After about 45 minutes or so the first procedure was done.  I had the procedures done over 2 visits as I had xanthelasma on both eyes, both above and below.  So we did the removal over two visits.  I could easily have had them all removed at once but I liked being able to see how the healing process of the first part goes before doubling down.

Immediately after the surgery my eyes definitely looked pretty bad.  But remarkably, the healing process was pretty quick.  I had the procedure done on a Saturday, and by Monday the healing process kicked in so much that when I went to the office, no one noticed the redness.  Granted I didn't have a lot of close conversations at the office on monday, but I had meetings and no one said things like "who punched you in the face"?  So that made me feel better.  I'm guessing that if someone had very large Xanthelasma's then maybe it would take longer to heal and more noticable post operation.  Mine weren't too big so I guess that helped.  After a week or so any swelling, scabbing etc was gone.  The only thing that took awhile to adjust was the skin coloration in that area.  I have a little darker pigment (my italian heritage) and the area where the xantelasma was removed healed with the skin turning lighter.  Over time the color blended in and looked more normal, but when I look closely I can tell that the skin is a slightly different shade, but totally unnoticable to anyone except me who has been looking at the same face in the mirror for the last 40 years. 

Oh yeah, the second procedure came out fine too, and they even corrected something that was missed in the first procedure (she didn't go deep enough on one of the xanthelasmas).

Ok I know this is a long post but I just wanted to end this my saying that I'M VERY SATISFIED WITH THE REMOVAL OF THE XANTHELASMA AND SO MUCH HAPPIER THAT I DON'T HAVE TO SEE THOSE UGLY BUMPS ANYMORE.

I feel strongly that you should not get traditional surgery so stay away from the surgeon.  Everyone can have their own opinion, but based on the years of research that I've done and numerous consultations, I have a very strong viewpoint that for the removal of Xanthelasma, Radiosurgery is the best method for removal for just about every reason (it works, easy, not that expensive compared to surgery, no stitches, safer, no knives, good healing process etc).

I had the procedure done over a year ago and I just wanted to share my experiences as I wish someone gave me this advice when I was looking for removal options.

Good luck and I hope this post helps you.