Shotty lymph nodes - Complete details about its causes, symptoms and treatment

Are you looking for details about shotty lymph nodes? Want to know about its causes, symptoms or treatments? If you are eagerly waiting to get answer of such question, Here, we tried to provide solution of your such queries or issues.

Know about Shotty lymph nodes:

It is a term used to describe swollen or a specific kind of enlarged lymph nodes. Also known as lymph glands, the lymph nodes are a part of the immune system and help fight off invasion by varied pathogens like bacteria, viruses, etc. It is usually occur in areas such as the neck, the armpits, the chin, and the groin.

Shotty workmanship usually means a job was poorly done. In the case of lymph nodes, when someone refers to shotty lymph nodes it is used to describe a group of lymph nodes that resemble buckshot under the skin.

Since it is not common, it can be cause for concern when these types of nodes are discovered on the body. The term, which originated in the 19th century, isn’t used as common as it once was. This type of lymph node isn’t noticed until they swell up.

Lymph nodes may experience swelling or enlargement after viral or bacterial infections. Swelling of lymph nodes due to infections is called lymphadenitis. It is rarely caused by cancer. Sometimes, the lymph nodes may experience permanent enlargement post infections. Such swollen lymph nodes are typically not sensitive or tender, feel rubbery, and measure less than 1 cm. They also do not feature any symptoms of an infection or malignancy. 

Repeated infections can cause lymph nodes to become scarred. When this happens the lymph nodes may resemble a cluster of buckshot under the skin. Some cancers and lymphomas can cause repeated swelling of the nodes. Once swollen, they may become enlarged more rapidly the next time there is an infection and cause concern.

To treat this type of lymph node, a doctor will need to first take a medical history, document any other symptoms, and do tests. When necessary the node may need to be removed to do a biopsy to rule out or to diagnose cancer.

Functions of lymph nodes:

Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped or circular group of cells enclosed in a capsule made of connective tissue. These cells comprise of macrophages and lymphocytes. The latter manufactures protein matter that catch germs like bacteria, while the former breaks down such captured matter. Both of them destroy the pathogens and thus protect the body. They also filter the lymph fluid as it passes across the body. Lymph nodes are found in clusters and each cluster helps drain a particular region of the body. 


Shotty lymph nodes are typically an indication of some anomaly occurring in the body. In the initial stages when the lymph nodes experience swelling, and as per the causes, a patient may elicit the following signs and symptoms:
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes up to the size of a kidney bean or a pea. It may even be bigger.
  • The lymph nodes cause pain and increased tenderness.
  • Nocturnal sweating.
  • Generalized inflammation of the lymph nodes all over the body. This is usually a sign of an immune system condition like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, or infections like mononucleosis or HIV.
  • Fever, sore throat, runny nose, and other symptoms indicating infection of the upper respiratory system.
  • A swollen limb; it can be a possible symptom of some obstruction in the lymphatic system arising due to swelling of lymph nodes present deep within the skin.
  • Fast-growing, rigid, and hard lymph nodes;it can be a symptom of possible malignancies or tumor.
Non-treatment of swollen or shotty lymph nodes caused due to infections can result in the below listed medical complications:
  • Bacteremia or infection of the bloodstream: 
It is possible for a bacterial infection affecting any region of the body to sometimes travel to other areas of the body, thereby causing widespread infection of the bloodstream and sepsis. Infection of the bloodstream can lead to failure of organs and death of the patient. Treatment involves hospitalization and intravenous administration of antibiotics.
  • Development of abscess: 
Local buildup of pus arising due to an infection is referred to as an abscess. Such pus may consist of dead tissue, WBCs, fluids, bacteria, and other pathogens. Treatment involves drainage of the abscess and administration of antibiotics. An abscess can result in considerable harm if it affects an important organ.


The lymphatic system is made up of many vessels, organs, and lymph nodes present all over the body. A majority of lymph nodes can be found in the neck and head area. Most cases of its are detected in this region, as well as in the groin and armpits.
Infections are the most prevalent cause of swollen or shotty lymph nodes; especially viral infections like the common cold. It can also be caused by other kinds of infections such as bacterial or parasitic infections, as well as other causes. Some of the common causes are listed below:
  • Common infections like measles, strep throat, abscessed or infected tooth, ear infections, wound or skin infections like erysipelas or cellulitis, mononucleosis, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Immune system conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, etc.
  • Uncommon infections such as tuberculosis, cat scratch fever, toxoplasmosis, and certain STDs like syphilis.
  • Cancers like leukemia and lymphoma as well as other cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes.
  • In rare instances, patients may experience swollen or shotty lymph nodes due to intake of certain medicines like malaria preventive drugs, anti-seizure meds like phenytoin, etc.


It arising due to viral infections typically fade away on their own after treatment of the infection. Viral conditions cannot be treated with antibiotics.

As per the cause, it can be treated in the below-listed ways:
  • Infection: 
Most instances of shotty lymph nodes are caused by bacterial infections; it is treated with antibiotics. Shotty lymph nodes caused because of an underlying HIV infection is treated as per standard procedures.
  • Cancers: 
Shotty lymph nodes caused due to cancers resolve after successful treatment of the specific pre-existing cancer. Varied kinds of cancers are usually treated via surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
  • Immune system disorders: 
Shotty lymph nodes that are caused due to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or other immune system conditions resolve via treatment of those pre-existing disorders.
Pain and tenderness associated with swollen or shotty lymph nodes can be alleviated as follows:
  • Application of moist, wet compresses on the affected areas. Soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it, and then apply on the shotty lymph nodes to find relief. Repeat when the cloth loses its warmth.
  • Lots of rest is required so as to facilitate speedier recovery from its. Hence, take sufficient bed rest.
  • Non-prescription pain medications can also be taken to decrease the tenderness and pain.
Hope you will get your intended information about shotty lymph nodes from this guide. Keep visiting our site for more such health guides and information. :)

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