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Case Reports in Dermatological Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 149829, 3 pages
Case Report

A Dermal Piercing Complicated by Mycobacterium fortuitum

The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555, USA

Received 11 June 2013; Accepted 28 July 2013

Academic Editors: S. A. Cuevas-Covarrubias, K. Jimbow, and N. Oiso

Copyright © 2013 Trisha Patel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Dermal piercings have recently become a fashion symbol. Common complications include hypertrophic scarring, rejection, local infection, contact allergy, and traumatic tearing. We report a rare case of Mycobacterium fortuitum following a dermal piercing and discuss its medical implications and treatments. Case. A previously healthy 19-year-old woman presented complaining of erythema and edema at the site of a dermal piercing on the right fourth dorsal finger. She was treated with a 10-day course of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and one course of cephalexin by her primary care physician with incomplete resolution. The patient stated that she had been swimming at a local water park daily. A punch biopsy around the dermal stud was performed, and cultures with sensitivities revealed Mycobacterium fortuitum. The patient was treated with clarithromycin and ciprofloxacin for two months receiving full resolution. Discussion. Mycobacterium fortuitum is an infrequent human pathogen. This organism is a Runyon group IV, rapidly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria, often found in water,soil, and dust. Treatment options vary due to the size of the lesion. Small lesions are typically excised, while larger lesions require treatment for 2–6 months with antibiotics. We recommend a high level of suspicion for atypical mycobacterial infections in a piercing resistant to other therapies.