Periocular petrolatum

Andrew B. Merkur, Maria Stephanie R. Jardeleza, Nicholas T Iliff, W. Jackson Iliff, Neil R. Miller, W. Richard Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: This report describes the clinical and histopathologic features and discusses the diagnostic difficulties and management of periocular deposition of petrolatum-based materials. Methods: Excision of orbital and eyelid tissue, tissue processing, and histopathologic examination was performed in patients with deposition of petroleum-based products. Transmission electron microscopy was performed in 3 cases. Results: Between 1983 and 2003, 11 patients were diagnosed with periocular petrolatum deposition, based on clinical history and the characteristic histopathologic features of polymorphic dropout spaces, and varied from a noninflammatory lesion (paraffinoma) to those with an associated granulomatous inflammatory reaction. Conclusions: The diagnosis of petrolatum deposition can be challenging due to the range of symptoms and variable delay in presentation. Petrolatum products should be avoided during surgery and used judiciously in the postoperative period. To avoid confusion with nonspecific cases of lipogranulomatous inflammation, the terms "ointment granuloma" or "orbital paraffinoma" should be used to refer to patients presenting with orbital/eyelid lesions caused by ointment use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalOphthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology


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