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What Causes Satellite Lesions?

By Jennifer Long
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Satellite lesions, also called secondary lesions, can be caused by many different things. They are called satellite or secondary because they are found close to main lesions. These lesions are responses to conditions that have not received treatment quickly or adequately. The main causes of the lesions are the primary lesions, but the underlying causes of the primary lesions are also the cause of the secondary lesions. Candidiasis, staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and cancer are the most common conditions that cause lesions.

Candidiasis is a fungal infection and is also known as a yeast infection, diaper rash, or thrush. This infection is most commonly diagnosed when lesions appear on the skin, but can also occur in the intestines, mouth, or bladder. Red welts with inflammation appear on the skin, while inner lesions are white or gray in color. Satellite lesions occur if the infection worsens or does not respond to initial treatment.

The staphylococcus aureus bacteria can lead to many skin problems. Primary lesions are sores on the skin that will often be fluid-filled and have a light gray or yellow crust cover. In this instance, satellite lesions appear in clusters closer to the primary lesions, which can make them look worse and larger than what they really are. Prompt antibiotic treatment can prevent secondary lesions from appearing.

Some cancers, such as melanoma, are often diagnosed by the presence of lesions. Not all forms of cancer cause lesions or have lesions that are on the skin, but many cause lesions inside the body. During diagnosis, doctors look for satellite lesions to help them differentiate or confirm an initial diagnosis from a primary lesion. With melanoma, for example, secondary lesions will be smaller than the primary lesions but otherwise very similar in color and shape.

Diagnosing the underlying cause is an important factor in preventing satellite lesions. Primary lesions play a large role in determining what the cause is. Once a diagnosis is made, proper treatment can help reduce the chance that secondary lesions will occur. Doctors may also use the presence of secondary lesions to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for conditions that caused primary lesions, particularly if no secondary lesions were present when treatment began.

In some cases, doctors may need to biopsy a primary and/or secondary lesion. This process involves testing a tissue sample of the lesion to determine what the cause is. If the lesions are on the surface of the skin, a simple cut is made. Internal lesions, however, may require endoscopy or a surgical procedure to get biopsy samples.

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Discussion Comments

By mobilian33 — On Sep 12, 2014

I guess the lesions you see on your skin are scary enough, but the ones on the inside that I can't see worry me more. My mother had an ultrasound and they discovered she had liver lesions. She had absolutely no symptoms from the lesions. They were found by accident.

By Animandel — On Sep 11, 2014

MRSA lesions are sometimes confused for spider bites. Most of us have been bitten by a spider at some time in our lives, and unless we are allergic or the spider was poisonous we simply wait for it to heal. However, if your spider bite is actually MRSA then you need to get to a doctor and start treatment as soon as possible.

In my opinion, any lesion that appears on your skin and you can't say for certain why it is there should be treated seriously. This means you should go to a medical professional and get diagnosed immediately.

By Laotionne — On Sep 11, 2014

One of the guys I work with got a bump on his finger. Well, there are only a few of us who are going to get out of sorts over a little bump. He didn't think anything of the new bump. Then after a few days or so, the finger turned really red and there was swelling. He said he had probably been bitten by a spider.

He was determined to let his finger get better without going to the doctor. However, more little bumps popped up and they were filled with puss. Our supervisor finally told him to leave work and go to a doctor. The finger looked terrible.

This was just the beginning of his ordeal. He was sent to the hospital where they found out he had a staph infection. Everyone thought he was fine after treatment. He came back to work, but the infection came back, and he had lesions on his hand and he also had satellite lesions on his arms. He spent an entire year battling the infections. He was lucky that he didn't have any permanent damage to his body.

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