Tattoo granuloma of the eyelid mimicking carcinoma

Carson R. Bee, Eric A. Steele, Kevin P. White, David J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A 68-year-old woman was referred to the Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery service for evaluation of a left upper eyelid lesion that was worrisome for carcinoma. The mass measured 8 × 8 mm; it was well-circumscribed, pink, and firm with distortion of the eyelid margin, central ulceration, and loss of the lashes. The patient denied previous surgery or trauma in this area, but she had a history of blepharopigmentation (tattoo eyeliner) of all 4 eyelids approximately 7 years prior. Incisional biopsy revealed inflammatory changes consistent with a localized reaction to the tattoo pigment granules. Local kenalog injection was attempted with improvement of the overall appearance but with persistent deformity including irregularity of the margin and loss of lashes. The persistent abnormal appearance was worrisome for an underlying carcinoma missed on the initial incisional biopsy and prompted a full-thickness wedge resection and reconstruction of the abnormal area. The results of biopsy of the excised tissue confirmed absence of malignant neoplasm and showed changes consistent with tattoo granuloma. Tattoo granuloma of the eyelid should be considered in the differential diagnosis of eyelid lesions worrisome for carcinoma in patients with a history of blepharopigmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e15-e17
JournalOphthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology


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