A pyogenic granuloma is a collection of blood vessels that grow quickly and abundantly, often at the site of an injury.
The cluster of blood vessels making up the pyogenic granuloma forms a dark red spot that becomes ulcerated and crusts over. This process usually takes 1 to 2 weeks. It is considered an abnormal healing response.
Normally, blood vessels respond with growth to help heal a traumatic site. In this condition, the response is excessive and does not turn off as it should.
A pyogenic granuloma is usually a bright red or dark purple-red nodule. This lesion is dome-shaped, protrudes from the skin, and is usually solitary. It can bleed easily, especially after re-injury.
The nodules seem to be more common on the face, hands, arms, and shoulders. At first the lesions may be about the size of a pinhead. They may grow rapidly up to the size of a pea, or rarely larger.
The cause of pyogenic granuloma is unknown. It is most common in children and young adults, and may occur during pregnancy. The hormonal changes that pregnant women and children undergo may be a contributing factor.
Since the cause of pyogenic granuloma is not known, prevention is difficult. Avoiding injury, if possible, may decrease the risk.
The diagnosis of pyogenic granuloma is usually based on a physical exam. A biopsy of the skin and tissue at the site may be done to rule out other causes for the skin lesion.
The long-term effects of pyogenic granuloma are generally limited to annoying bleeding at the site. The lesions do not usually hurt or itch.
Pyogenic granuloma is not contagious and poses no risk to others.
Pyogenic granuloma lesions may be removed with surgery. The surgeon makes an incision into the skin and removes the granuloma or takes a biopsy sample of it.
Cryosurgery (freezing), electrocautery (heat produced by an electric current), or lasers may be used to remove the lesions.
Usually a minor scar is left by the lesion and the surgery. Surgery can be complicated by bleeding, infection, or an allergic reaction to the anesthetic.
Pyogenic granuloma usually goes away completely after treatment or on its own. Occasionally, it may come back.
If bleeding at the site does not stop despite applying pressure for 10 minutes, the healthcare professional should be contacted. Any new or worsening symptoms should also be reported to the healthcare professional.
Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness, and Surgery, Griffith, 2000
Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment, Hathaway et al, 1993