PYOGENIC GRANULOMA

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What causes this illness How its spread
Treatment Normal course of the illness
When to seek help Similar illnesses
This picture is of the left side of a child's face. The red spot in the lower right corner is the pyogenic granuloma.
This is a close up of the pyogenic granuloma. It is hard to get good detail on something this small. This lesion is about 2 mm.
pyogen3.jpg (18422 bytes) This is the best picture of one I could find on the net. This looks more like an infected nipple than a real pyogenic granuloma. The regular pyogenic granulomas look more like a large blood vessel. This one is getting infected.

To see other pictures go to http://www.derma.med.uni-erlangen.de/bilddb/index_e.htm

 

 

A pyogenic granuloma is a dilated (widened) blood vessel about 2 to 10 mm in size. They are arise suddenly and are usually found on the face or upper torso. They look like a small bright red strawberry birthmark, but grow rapidly (over a few days to weeks). They are almost exclusively found in children and are never present at birth.

WHAT CAUSES IT

A pyogenic granuloma is simply a blood vessel that has started to grow rapidly for some reason. Some suspect that trauma to the skin in the presence of certain bacteria causes a blood vessel to grow out of control, but the exact cause is unknown.

HOW ITS SPREAD

Pyogenic granulomas are not infections and are therefore not contagious.

NORMAL COURSE

Pyogenic granulomas usually just appear on the face in the first few years of life. Parents often think they are small scratches or bug bites until they don't go away and grow rapidly. Some pyogenic granulomas may resolve on their own, but most will continue to grow. Eventually, the lesion will bleed due to some trauma. The bleeding will be hard to stop and the lesion will have to be removed. This process may take weeks to months.

TREATMENT

The treatment of choice is surgical removal with appropriate anesthesia. The lesion is then sent to the pathologist to ensure it wasn't a rare type of cancer. Should the lesion begin to bleed before it can be removed, then hold firm pressure on it for 5 minutes like you would any bleeding wound and the bleeding should stop.

SIMILAR ILLNESSES

Hemangioma: These are red, flat or raised, show up within a few days of birth, grow up to the child is about 1 and then regress, but do not grow rapidly. Hemangiomas are rarely less than 10 mm and generally are red to purple with a flat paint like apearance as opposed to a pyogenic granuloma which has a bright red glossy appearance.

Tumor: There are 2 or more tumors that look similar to this lesion, therefore you should see your doctor if you think your child has this. Don't worry too much. I have seen a dozen or so pyogenic granulomas in 4 years and none have been cancerous.

Bug bite: These are usually pink, not red, itch, are surrounded by a base of pink skin and resolve within a few days. Pyogenic granulomas don't have a base of pink skin around them, are bright red, raise rapidly and do not generally resolve on their own.

Other lesions: there are a few other lesions that are similar to pyogenic granuloma, but most people will not have much problem diagnosing this lesion. Remember, the pyogenic granuloma just appears out of nowhere and grows rapidly. You should always let your doctor decide what it is eventually anyway.

WHEN TO SEEK HELP

CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY:

The lesion is bleeding and you can't stop it after 5 minutes of firm pressure.

CALL YOUR DOCTOR DURING BUSINESS HOURS:

The lesion did bleed, but you got the bleeding stopped within 5 minutes.
The lesion is growing very rapidly or gets larger than 3 to 4 mm (split pea size).
Your child has one of these and your child or your family has a history of skin cancer, Spitz nevi (tumors) or melanoma.
The lesion interferes with some body function, such as; on an eye lid, on the lips, near the nose opening.
You think your child has a pyogenic granuloma and your office visit is more than an few weeks away.

NOTIFY YOUR DOCTOR AT THE NEXT OFFICE VISIT:

You think your child has one of these, does not have any of the above and your office visit is within the next few weeks.

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