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What Is a Suture Granuloma?

Equipment used to place and remove sutures.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A suture granuloma is a small mass of clustered immune cells that may develop around the site of a surgical procedure. It is a potential complication of surgery that can be an increased risk in certain cases, as some types of sutures appear to promote granuloma formation. In a patient with a history of surgeries, small masses must be evaluated with care to differentiate between benign and malignant growths, and it may be necessary to perform a biopsy to determine what kinds of cells are involved.

In the case of a suture granuloma, the immune cells cluster to create a wall between the rest of the body and a foreign object. The immune system may determine that sutures, staples, fixators, and other surgical devices are dangerous, and can use scarification and clumps of immune cells to isolate these materials. This can create the appearance of a lump at the suture site that may protrude from the skin and can appear red and irritated in some cases.

Sometimes, a granuloma develops shortly after surgery, while in other cases, it may develop in the long term in response to the irritation caused by staples and permanent sutures. The patient may be concerned by the appearance of the lump and may report it to a medical professional. An evaluation can include a quick palpation, a discussion of the patient's history, and a needle aspiration biopsy to find out what kinds of cells are involved.

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If the growth is a simple suture granuloma, the medical professional may not recommend any treatment. In cases where the growth impedes movement or causes a cosmetic problem, it can be removed. After removal, the surgeon can recontour the skin to remove any lumps or dips, and may recommend the use of compression bandages and other tools to limit the development of another lump. Sometimes, however, the granuloma may become recurrent, and it could create a lifelong problem for the patient.

Patients should monitor their surgical sites carefully for issues like heat, swelling, changes in skin color or texture, and strange growths. Surgeons prefer to err on the side of caution and can examine a patient with concerns about anything occurring at the site of an incision. Since this type of granuloma can mimic a more invasive growth, and vice versa, it is important to accurately diagnose the growth with the assistance of a biopsy to determine whether it is a risk.

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Discuss this Article

anon945718
Post 6

What would the ICD-9 code be for this?

anon351507
Post 5

I have my second granuloma at the site of a drainage tube used to drain fluid from a seroma resulting from extensive hernia repair surgery. It is ugly, and it hurts. I had surgery to remove the first one, and it seemed to heal fine. Yet at the 3.5 month point, it reappeared, at least as bad as before. Any ideas/comments? Is there any need for a second opinion beyond the surgeon involved?

anon320037
Post 4

I have a granuloma on my shoulder after rotator cuff surgery. It was there when the bandage was removed and became sore and painful. The surgeon aspirated it and the report came back negative but he said he was concerned and wants to surgically remove it and that means another procedure in the hospital. I however do not want to go to surgery again. Does anyone know the risk of leaving it alone.

anon295391
Post 3

Granuloma of sutures can be extremely painful.

starrynight
Post 2

@strawCake - I think it's nice you were all so concerned about your sister. Everyone should have family to take care of them during medical procedures.

As the article said, suture granuloma is looks much scarier than it actually is. One of my friends had it after she had surgery and her doctor didn't even want to remove it. However, my friend is a bit vain and she insisted-she just didn't like the way it looked!

strawCake
Post 1

Wow suture granuloma really adds insult to injury, pardon the pun! Having surgery is stressful enough without finding a strange lump or bump at the incision site.

My sister broke her elbow a few years ago and had to have two surgeries: one to put pins in, and one to take them out. Maybe my family is a little dramatic, but we were all nervous wrecks when she has her surgeries.

We were also extremely overbearing about making sure the incision healed up properly too! I can imagine we would have all lost our minds if she had developed any lumps while she was healing.

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