Pyogenic granuloma is often described as a shiny red growth on the skin which commonly develops on the arms, face and hands. It could also form inside or around the mouth. These growths show up in areas that had previously sustained trauma. The appearance of these shiny red growths can bring about a certain degree of concern because they grow rapidly and bleed easily. They are even thought as cancerous but they are not, even if they are irritating and painful sometimes.
Pyogenic granuloma does not always need treatment because the condition resolves on its own. However, it usually recurs and may appear on the same area where the original skin growth formed previously. Doctors usually recommend having the growth removed especially if it is bleeding.
Causes of Pyogenic Granuloma
Experts do not know how pyogenic granuloma develops but they have identified several factors that could contribute to their development. These are:
- Skin trauma
The growths had been found to occur in areas which have recently sustained minor injuries like pinpricks, scab or acne.
- Hormonal changes
There is hormonal involvement in the development of non-cancerous lesions on the skin. This is based on the prevalence of pyogenic granuloma during pregnancy, as it affects around 5% of pregnant women.
Experts have found out that the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium is practically present in the growths.
- Medication side effects
Certain medications have been found to contribute to the development of multiple growths particularly in people taking protease inhibitors and systemic retinoids.
- Malformed blood vessels
There might be malformations of small blood vessels that lead to the formation of benign growths.
In pyogenic granuloma, the capillaries grow rapidly causing a lesion to develop. This could be due to any of the abovementioned factors. Studies showed that women are primarily affected by this condition, especially those who are pregnant. It is also common among children and young adults, including those who are taking acne medications. High incidence of pyogenic granuloma occurs in people who are in their 20s and 30s and rarely affects children below 6 months old.
Appearance of Pyogenic Granuloma
The following are the hallmark features of pyogenic granuloma:
It is usually red-pink in color but sometimes takes on a blue-black or brownish-red hue.
The growth grows rapidly from 2mm to 2cm diameter. However, it may grow further and reach 5cm diameter.
The growth usually has a shiny and moist surface and may be oozing at times. It bleeds=s easily and profusely because a lot of small blood vessels are in the site.
The growth initially appears as a tiny pinhead-sized spot on the skin. It quickly grows into a sizeable lump or lesion that bleeds easily in just a few weeks. More often than not, the affected individual develops a single lesion, although it is possible to have multiple lesions.
Pyogenic granuloma often affects the fingers, neck, head and feet. It may also form on the chest and even the mucosal surfaces inside and around the mouth. The lump may at times be painless but the fact that it could keep coming back and bleeds profusely forces one to seek immediate medical advice.
Diagnosis of Pyogenic Granuloma
The doctor can immediately diagnose pyogenic granuloma based on its appearance and area affected. Even so, the doctor may still opt to conduct a skin biopsy to rule out cancer. These growths are always benign or non-cancerous and rarely mimic some forms of skin cancer. It is important to remember that during a doctor’s visit, the patient should inform the doctor about the medications currently being taken as well as his/her medical history. This would greatly help in arriving at an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment of Pyogenic Granuloma
In most cases, pyogenic granuloma disappears on its own over time. Treatment is usually needed when the growth keeps coming back and bleeds. The only means to treat the condition is to get rid of the lump, but removal does not guarantee that it will not grow once again.
There are several ways to remove the growth and among the popularly used methods are:
This procedure is applicable for small growths. A freezing agent is injected into the lump and removal is done afterwards.
- Curettage and cautery
In this method, the growth is shaved-off using a surgical instrument called curette. The blood vessels that feed the growth are then cauterized or burned to destroy the tissues and reduce the possibility of re-growth. Cauterization can be done by using a chemical agent (chemical cauterization) or electric current (electrocauterization or electrocautery).
In excision, the affected area is completely cut out, extending deep into the inner layer of skin or the dermis. Since feeding blood vessels are deeply buried in the dermis, so surgery will excise the growth and the feeding blood vessels in a cone-shaped manner.
- Laser surgery
Pulse-dye laser has been popularly used in removing small lesions; while bigger lesions are removed using laser therapy.
It should be noted that any of these pyogenic granuloma removal methods is not advised during pregnancy.
Pyogenic Granuloma Pictures