Starch Granules in Tissue

This is the skin and fat of the right buttock of a patient who chewed "Talwin" (pentazocine) pills, spat them into a hypodermic syringe, and injected them here.

The first photo shows the resulting infection, abscess formation, and scarring.

The second photo shows the granules of treated starch used as pill-filler. The body cannot metabolize them, and they stay. Their surfaces are a safe haven for bacteria, so the body will probably not be able to rid itself of the infection. You can see the starch granules as pale gray circles. There is also abundant iron pigment from all the bleeding, and pools of lipid from the injured fat.

The third photo was taken using polarized light. The starch granules, being spherical, present white "maltese" crosses. You can also see the scar tissue fibers (dense collagen) in the background. This preparation shows them as green.

The fourth photo was also taken using polarized light. The higher magnification shows the starch granules to advantage.

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