AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado
AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado

Soft Tissue Foreign Bodies

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Soft tissue foreign bodies are items that break the skin and become embedded in the body. These can cause discomfort, deformity, localized and systemic infection, and delayed skin healing.

Examples of foreign bodies include wood, metal, and broken glass.

What are soft tissue foreign bodies?

Foreign bodies embedded in soft tissue can result in complications if not treated properly. Allergic reactions happen when the body’s immune system treats the foreign body like an invader. Similarly, inflammation, a normal reaction to a foreign body, can lead to infection if the site gets contaminated. When foreign bodies are deeply embedded in soft tissues, it can be difficult and time-consuming to remove them and can potentially damage the tissue.

Sometimes foreign bodies can be plainly seen or felt. When they cannot, there are a variety of imaging techniques that can be used to determine their location. These include x-rays, CT scans and ultrasound. The method used to detect the foreign object depends on its depth and location.

Sometimes foreign bodies are not found during the initial examination. In these cases, patients will usually see signs and symptoms down the road that indicate a foreign body still remains.

Signs and Symptoms

The common occurring signs and symptoms of soft tissue foreign body are:

  • A hard lump beneath the skin
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain


When you visit your healthcare professional, he or she will examine the wound carefully. The provider may need to feel around the wound to attempt to locate the foreign body. If this is not successful, an imaging technique such as x-ray, CT, or ultrasound might be used to detect the presence of the foreign body in the soft tissues.

In some cases, a foreign body may come out or dissolve on its own. This can take weeks to months to happen. There are also cases where removing the foreign body is riskier than letting it remain the body. A healthcare provider can evaluate the injury and help guide the best path forward.

If the foreign body is removable, the area will typically be numbed before intervention to make the procedure more comfortable for the patient. The wound will usually be cleaned and flushed as part of the procedure. Various tools may be used, depending on the depth and location of the foreign body.

If outpatient removal is not possible, foreign bodies can be removed surgically

After the removal procedure, a patient may need antibiotics or painkillers prescribed to address pain and infection. These should be taken as written, completing any antibiotics in full. A patient may also need a tetanus shot, depending on the type of wound and timing of their last vaccination.

Management of symptoms

The symptoms can be managed efficiently by following the below-mentioned techniques:

  • Elevate The injured area to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Apply ice: Ice should be applied for no more than 20 minutes at a time and a cloth or other barrier should be kept between the ice and skin.
  • Wound care: the wound should be kept clean all the time. Follow health care directions on bathing and dressing changes.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:

If you notice a red lump on your body, you should see a medical provider in order to avoid possible serious complications.

Removal of soft-tissue foreign bodies is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.