Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the eyelid masquerading as a chalazion

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Chalazia are among the most common eyelid lesions presenting to eye care providers. Often successfully managed conservatively, some require more invasive intervention such as incision and drainage or steroid injection. Lesions that recur, do not respond to treatment, or are atypical in appearance or natural history should prompt more thorough analysis, often with biopsy and subsequent microscopic analysis. Not uncommonly, such atypical chalazia may be masking a more serious diagnosis. Eyelid cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma masquerading as a chalazion is exceedingly rare. We present a case report of an atypical chalazion that was refractory to incision and drainage as well as intralesional steroid injection. Incisional biopsy revealed the lesion to be a cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma requiring full-thickness excision and subsequent reconstruction. The patient provided written informed consent, and the contents herein are acceptable under the provisions of the institutional review board. Following Mohs excision and oculoplastic reconstruction with a Hughes flap, the patient has had a good outcome and is currently free of recurrence. Recurrent chalazia that are defiant to surgical and medical interventions should prompt biopsy and evaluation by pathology. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma should be considered in the differential diagnosis as early intervention can save a patient’s eye and, not infrequently, their life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-134
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 27 2015


  • Chalazia
  • Chalazion
  • Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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