Are you curious about pyogenic granulomas and what they are? Pyogenic granulomas are a type of benign skin growth that can be found in both children and adults. These lesions often appear as red or purple bumps, typically located on the head, neck, hands, arms, legs, or face. Although these lesions are not cancerous nor do they cause any harm to the body, they can be quite painful if left untreated. Here, we will explore what pyogenic granulomas are, their symptoms and causes, treatment options available for them and more.

History and Definition

Pyogenic granulomas, also known as lobular capillary hemangiomas, are benign, red, elevated growths that often occur on the skin, but can also be found on mucous membranes and other parts of the body. They are called “pyogenic” because they were initially thought to be related to infections, but this theory has since been disproven.

Pyogenic granulomas were first described by Antonin Poncet and Dor, two French surgeons, in 1897, who named these lesions “botryomycosis hominis.” The name “pyogenic granuloma” was later adopted, as it more accurately reflects the nature of the growths.

Symptoms

The following are common symptoms of pyogenic granulomas:

  • Raised, red, and smooth: Pyogenic granulomas are raised, red, and smooth and may resemble a small, firm bump on the skin. They typically measure a few millimeters to a few centimeters in size.

 

  • Rapid growth: Pyogenic granulomas can grow rapidly over a short period of time, usually within a few weeks.

 

  • Bleeding: Pyogenic granulomas may bleed easily, especially when irritated or traumatized.

 

  • Multiple sites: Pyogenic granulomas can occur at multiple sites on the skin, or they may be solitary.

 

  • Pregnancy: Pyogenic granulomas are more common during pregnancy and may resolve after delivery.

It is important to note that pyogenic granulomas can be mistaken for other skin conditions, such as basal cell carcinoma or melanoma. If you have any concerns about a skin growth or lesion, it is important to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis.

Causes

While the exact cause of pyogenic granulomas is not known, the following are some of the possible factors that may contribute to their development:

  • Trauma or injury: Pyogenic granulomas are often seen at the site of a skin injury or where the skin has been punctured or scraped.

 

  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause an increase in blood flow, leading to the development of pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy for psoriasis, can increase the risk of developing pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Infections: Some infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), can cause pyogenic granulomas to form.

 

  • Immune system disorders: Certain immune system disorders, such as lupus, can increase the risk of developing pyogenic granulomas.

In some cases, the cause of pyogenic granulomas may not be determined. If you suspect you may have a pyogenic granuloma, it is best to seek medical attention to determine the best course of treatment.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of pyogenic granulomas typically begins with a visual examination of the affected area by a doctor or dermatologist. Pyogenic granulomas are usually small, raised, and red bumps that may bleed easily and have smooth or lobulated surfaces.

To confirm the diagnosis of pyogenic granulomas, the doctor may perform a biopsy, which involves removing a small sample of the affected tissue for laboratory analysis. The biopsy can help to determine the exact type of growth and to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.

In addition to a visual examination and biopsy, the doctor may also ask about your medical history, including any recent injuries or skin infections, and perform a physical examination to check for other suspicious growths or moles on the skin.

Treatment

Treatment for pyogenic granulomas typically involves removing the affected lesion. There are both non-surgical and surgical options for removing pyogenic granulomas.

Non-Surgical

  • Electrodessication and curettage (ED&C): In this procedure, an electric current is used to destroy the affected tissue, which is then scraped away with a curette.

 

  • Cryotherapy: This procedure involves freezing the affected tissue using liquid nitrogen.

 

  • Topical medications: Some topical medications, such as corticosteroids, may be used to help shrink the affected lesion.

Surgical

  • Surgical excision: This involves surgically removing the affected tissue with a scalpel or scissors.

 

  • Laser therapy: This involves using a laser to destroy the affected tissue.

Regardless of the treatment option chosen, local anesthesia is typically used to numb the affected area and minimize discomfort during the procedure.

After the treatment, the affected area may be sore and swollen for a few days. The doctor may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort. The area may also be covered with a bandage to protect it from injury.

It is important to keep the affected area clean and dry and to follow any aftercare instructions provided by the doctor to minimize the risk of infection and promote healing. In some cases, there may be some scarring after the procedure, but this is typically minimal and may be hidden by the surrounding skin.

Risk Factors

The following are some of the risk factors associated with pyogenic granulomas:

  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Certain medical conditions: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy, may be more prone to developing pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Skin trauma: Trauma to the skin, such as from injury or surgery, can increase the risk of developing pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as oral contraceptives or retinoids, can increase the risk of developing pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Inflammatory skin conditions: People with certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, may be more prone to developing pyogenic granulomas.

 

  • Age: Pyogenic granulomas are more common in children and young adults, but can occur in people of all ages.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are just some of the risk factors associated with pyogenic granulomas, and having one or more of these factors does not guarantee that a person will develop the condition.

Complications

Pyogenic granulomas are benign (noncancerous) skin growths that can sometimes cause complications. Some of the most common complications of pyogenic granulomas include:

  • Bleeding: Pyogenic granulomas can bleed easily, especially if they are located in an area that is frequently bumped or rubbed. This can be a nuisance and can also lead to infection.

 

  • Infection: Pyogenic granulomas can become infected, especially if they are frequently scratched or traumatized. This can cause redness, swelling, and pain, and may require antibiotics or other treatments.

 

  • Recurrence: Pyogenic granulomas can recur after they have been removed, especially if the underlying cause has not been addressed.

 

  • Cosmetic concerns: Pyogenic granulomas can be unsightly and can cause cosmetic concerns, especially if they are located in visible areas of the body.

 

  • Pain: Pyogenic granulomas can be painful, especially if they are located in an area that is frequently used or if they are large and put pressure on nearby structures.

It’s essential to note that the severity and likelihood of these complications can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and underlying cause of the pyogenic granuloma, as well as the patient’s overall health and the effectiveness of their treatment. If you have a pyogenic granuloma, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention to minimize the risk of complications and ensure proper treatment.

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor if you have any unusual growths or skin lesions that persist for several weeks or longer and do not seem to heal. Pyogenic granulomas are small, red, raised lumps that can bleed easily, and they may be located anywhere on the body.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may order a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of pyogenic granuloma. The biopsy will also help your doctor determine the best course of treatment, which may include the removal of the growth, if necessary.

In some cases, pyogenic granulomas may go away on their own, but it is always best to have them evaluated by a doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns. If you have any concerns about a growth or lesion on your skin, do not delay seeking medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment can often lead to the best outcome.

Step-by-Step Guide to Pyogenic Granulomas Treatment

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the treatment of pyogenic granulomas:

Consultation

During your first appointment, your doctor will thoroughly evaluate your skin and medical history. They will also examine the pyogenic granulomas to determine the lesion’s size, depth, and location.

Treatment Options

Based on the examination, your doctor will discuss the various treatment options available for pyogenic granuloma removal. These may include surgical excision, laser therapy, cryotherapy, or topical medications.

Your doctor will help you choose the best treatment option based on factors such as the size and location of the pyogenic granulomas, your age, skin type, medical history, and personal preferences.

Preparation

If you have decided to go ahead with a procedure, your doctor will give you pre-operative instructions, including information on fasting, avoiding certain medications, and avoiding sun exposure.

Procedure

The procedure for pyogenic granuloma removal will vary based on the treatment option selected. For example, surgical excision involves cutting out the lesion, while laser therapy uses high-energy light to destroy it. Cryotherapy involves freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen.

Post-Operative Care

After the procedure, your doctor will provide you with post-operative instructions, including information on wound care, avoiding sun exposure, and avoiding certain activities that could disrupt the healing process.

You will typically need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to assess the results of the treatment and to determine if any further treatment is necessary

The exact process may vary depending on the individual case and the doctor’s specific recommendations. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and to attend all scheduled appointments to ensure the best possible outcome.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the pyogenic granuloma is a benign condition that can cause lesions and other symptoms. With proper care and treatment, it can usually be cured without significant long-term effects. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the condition effectively. By doing so, you can ensure your lesion heals properly, while also minimizing any discomfort. 

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TODAY

For over 35 years, Dr. Colin Hong has been one of the top plastic surgeons in Toronto, providing exceptional Cosmetic, Plastic, and Reconstructive surgeries at an affordable cost.

To request a consultation with him today, please get in touch with his office at (416) 222-6986 or email us at info@drcolinhong.com. Please provide your full name, email address, and phone number for us to get back to you promptly. Additionally, make sure you have a referral from your family doctor if you are looking to schedule an appointment for pyogenic granulomas with Dr. Colin Hong. 

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