Sometimes small calcium deposits form on or under the skin. Lesions may develop near a recent injury or surgical incision site where skin and soft tissue have been damaged. These bumps often look like firm white or yellowish papules on the surface of the skin. Calcinosis generally affects the fingers, elbows and knees, but can occur on the face and legs. While a person may have only one lesion, it is more common to have multiple papules at a localized site. Treatment of calcium deposits varies depending on severity and responsiveness of the particular case.
Talk to your doctor about possible drug therapies. He may prescribe a steroid such as prednisone to suppress the immune system. Treatment with oral diltiazem, a calcium channel blocker, may be used along with aluminum antacids and diphosphonates, as these medications are sometimes successful in resolving calcinosis. Some success has also been noted by giving patients low doses of warfarin when calcinosis is treated in the early stages.
Manage any underlying medical conditions, which can cause soft tissue damage. Dystrophic calcification, a common type of calcium deposit, is associated with connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma and dermatomyositis.
Treat minor cases of calcium deposits with carbon dioxide laser therapy, which involves the use of light energy that penetrates the skin. Treatment may partially if not completely remove calcinosis. Iontophoresis is another treatment option that uses low level electrical current to deliver drugs such as cortisone directly to the skin to dissolve calcium deposits.
Consider surgical excision if calcium deposits grow large, occur in clusters or become painful and other treatments fail to offer relief. Surgery can help to prevent future skin infections. However, be aware that recurrence of lesions is common following excision. Your physician may decide to excise only a small site before proceeding with a larger excision, as surgical trauma itself can stimulate calcification. According to an article published in a 2008 issue of "Dermatology Online Journal," physicians normally recommend surgically removing cutaneous calcium deposits only when other treatment options fail.
Ask your health care provider for more information about surgical debridement, especially for cases of calcinosis that cause painful fingertips. Debridement requires removal of tissue with a scalpel or scissors. Enzymatic debridement may be used in combination with surgical debridement and involves applying a topical ointment to the skin.
Lesions occurring on the fingertips can be painful while those elsewhere on the body can restrict joint mobility. Movement may be limited due to the skin stiffening.
Individuals can experience inflammation and pain when a calcium deposit grows larger. There is also the risk of localized infection.