Xanthomas are nodular granulomatous inflammatory lesions ('foam-cell tumors') characterized by accumulation of lipoprotein-laden macrophages within the skin, eye or sella turcica of the brain (xanthogranuloma).
They are mostly observed in the subcutaneous tissue of the head, ears and inguinal region, as well as visceral organs such as the pituitary, spleen, liver, adrenal glands, stomach, duodenum, and pancreas.
Xanthomas also can be found in other tissues, including skin, tendons, and knee and elbow joints.
Diagnosis usually requires histological examination of tissue samples, showing characteristic clusters of large, vacuolated, lipid-laden macrophages covered by a hyperplasic, hyperkeratotic, squamous epithelium.
If cutaneous xanthoma is involved, treatment is usually curative with excisional biopsy. Visceral xanthomas require more difficult extractions.
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