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Definition of Xanthoma

Xanthoma: Yellowish firm nodules in the skin frequently indicating underlying disease, such as diabetes, disorder of fats (lipid disorder or hyperlipidemia), or other conditions. A xanthoma is a kind of harmless growth of tissue.

Under the microscope, a xanthoma can be seen to be composed of lipid-laden foam cells. These cells, termed histiocytes, contain lipid material in their cytoplasm (the nonnuclear zone of the cell).

The word "xanthoma" is made up of "xanth-" from the Greek roots "xanthos" (yellow) and "oma" (swelling) = a yellow swelling. A xanthoma is a circumscribed yellow swelling, a yellowish nodule.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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