A pyogenic granuloma is a common and benign cutaneous tumor. Its formation is typically triggered by minor trauma, bacterial infection, or hormonal changes. This lesion first appears as a small (less than 1 millimeter) red/pink/purple bump that rapidly grows over the course of a few days or week to full size – usually between 2 millimeters and 2 centimeters, but growths as large as 5 centimeters have been reported.
There is an increased incidence of this condition in women relative to men, likely due to its association with pregnancy. Most pregnancy-induced pyogenic granuloma arise on the gums. When not associated with pregnancy these lesion most commonly appear on the fingers and toes but can appear anywhere on the skin or mucous membranes.
It is important to note that this condition, despite its initial rapid growth, is not in any way malignant. Often its only symptom is the changes in skin appearance that it creates, though these lesions can become tender or painful if they are irritated or traumatized. Additionally, these growths are quite friable – they bleed easily and profusely.
Fortunately, many excellent treatment options exist. Surgical excision is very effective and carries the lowest risk of recurrence as this treatment method also removes the underlying blood vessels that feed the tumor. If this is not an option, however, the lesion may be treated through electrodessication and curettage, CO2 lasers, pulse-dye lasers, cryotherapy, and topical imiquimod. Most pyogenic granuloma associated with pregnancy are left untreated as they may resolve spontaneously following childbirth.
Despite this condition’s innocuous nature, however, any new or rapidly growing skin lesion should be evaluated by a dermatologist. Contact your dermatologist for evaluation and treatment if you are suffering from the symptoms of pyogenic granuloma.