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.

Due to the hardness and the number of them, often they trigger concern of an undiagnosed tumor or lymphoma, but usually there is no cause for concern.

A Cluster of Buckshot

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. Shotty lymph nodes may not need any treatment if it is the result of previous infections.

Want More? – Infected Lymph Node

Avoiding the Removal and Biopsies

One of the side effects of lymph node removal is an interruption in the flow of lymph. It is part of the immune system and can make some people more susceptible to health problems. Of course when cancer causes the nodes to need to be removed and a biopsy performed, the risks are worth the alternative, which may mean cancer spreading throughout the body.

Description of Different Types of Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes filter throughout the body, trapping debris, particles, cells, bacteria, and viruses. Most people have heard of lymph nodes and have probably had some swell when fighting a cold, flu, or infection.

Most people don’t realize that there are hundreds of lymph nodes in the body that quietly go about doing their job and keeping the body healthy. There are lymph nodes that are commonly noticed, which are located in the following areas:

  • Neck
  • Groin
  • Armpits

In addition, there are other types of nodes located deep in the body and may go unnoticed when they swell.

The following types of lymph nodes indicate the presence of an illness, disease, or infection:

  • Swollen
  • Sensitive
  • Sore
  • Rubbery
  • Hard
  • Stationary

When there is a cluster of small swollen nodes that are hard nodes and resemble buckshot, they are known as shotty lymph nodes.


Once lymph nodes draw attention, it is easy to become more aware of them. Usually there is no reason to be concerned, but only a medical professional can determine the cause of swollen or enlarged lymph nodes.