Also known as
Lobular capillary haemangioma
What is a pyogenic granuloma?
A pyogenic granuloma is a common benign (not malignant) growth of blood vessels on the skin. It appears as a single fast growing red nodule that commonly bleeds. Whilst benign, pyogenic granulomas can be distressing due to their appearance and fast growth.
What causes a pyogenic granuloma?
The exact cause of a pyogenic granuloma is not known however minor trauma is thought to play a role in their development. Hormones are also thought to play a role, as pregnant women are more likely to develop a pyogenic granuloma inside their mouth.
Pyogenic granulomas can occur in anyone but are more common in young children and in females. They can occur anywhere on the body but are more common on the head and neck, upper trunk and hands, especially on the fingers.
What does a pyogenic granuloma look like?
Pyogenic granulomas usually appear and grow very quickly (usually over days to weeks).
Pyogenic granulomas are usually bright red and have a shiny surface. They grow out of the skin and can have a stalk. They tend to bleed very easily, even with a minor bump, and can form a crust over the top. They can become darker red in colour with time. They may be lumpy on the surface like a raspberry.
Pyogenic granulomas are not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. They do not turn into cancers and are not usually painful.
How is a pyogenic granuloma diagnosed?
A dermatologist can make the diagnosis based on the appearance of the lesion and the history of rapid growth. A biopsy may be performed in order to confirm the diagnosis.
How is pyogenic granuloma treated?
In general, a pyogenic granuloma will not disappear without treatment. However, cases of pyogenic granuloma developing during pregnancy have been known to resolve without treatment once the pregnancy is over.
Whilst benign and painless, pyogenic granulomas tend to be a nuisance because they bleed easily and can be unsightly.
The most common treatment is “curettage and cautery” which involves surgically scraping off the pyogenic granuloma and sealing the bleeding.
Pyogenic granulomas have a high risk of recurring and occasionally need to be surgically excised (cut out with stitches) which gives the best possible chance of them not growing back.
Any fast growing lesion on the skin that bleeds should be seen by a specialist dermatologist to ensure it is not skin cancer.
This information has been written by Dr Eleni Yiasemides