What is a Calcified Granuloma?

Erin J. Hill

A calcified granuloma is a mass within the tissues of a particular organ, usually the lungs, which has calcified. Calcification refers to the accumulation of calcium within a substance, much like what occurs inside the bones. When this occurs inside of a granuloma, it becomes hard and develops the same density as bone. Granulomas are benign and do not usually cause any health problems. They are generally caused by a fungal infection.

Calcified granulomas that are in the lungs can cause shortness of breath, chest heaviness, and coughing.
Calcified granulomas that are in the lungs can cause shortness of breath, chest heaviness, and coughing.

The most common area for a calcified granuloma to appear is on the lungs, although they can also occur in other organs like the kidneys or liver. They are generally not harmful and they do not usually cause any symptoms. Most patients discover they have them during an examination for another unrelated condition. Although they are benign, they can sometimes resemble cancer on an x-ray if calcification has not become severe.

Most calcified granulomas are caused by fungal infections.
Most calcified granulomas are caused by fungal infections.

In most cases of a calcified granuloma, the initial cause is a fungal infection. Many patients never realize they are infected, but tissues within the lungs or other organs become inflamed and form granulomas as a result. These areas of infection calcify over time if they are not removed and if they don't go away on their own. Generally, this causes no complications.

A calcified granuloma is a mass within a particular organ, typically the lungs, that has calcified.
A calcified granuloma is a mass within a particular organ, typically the lungs, that has calcified.

Most patients do not have to have a calcified granuloma removed, although this varies based on the location and size of the mass. Very large ones may be taken out or those which occur in certain locations, such as the throat. They usually do not cause pain, but this can vary depending on the person and the area where it is located. Many times they are removed, however, when seen on an x-ray to ensure that they are not cancerous.

Calcified granuloma may sometimes resemble cancer on an x-ray.
Calcified granuloma may sometimes resemble cancer on an x-ray.

Since there is usually no symptoms associated with calcified granulomas, it can be hard to tell if someone has them. If they do cause symptoms, it will generally depend on the location of the mass and where it is situated as well as the size. Those found in the lungs can occasionally cause shortness of breath, chest heaviness, coughing, and sometimes bloody cough will be present. This usually leads to further investigation. If calcification is severe, it is often seen right away that the area is a granuloma rather than cancer, but if not, a biopsy may be performed.

Calcified granuloma may occur in the liver.
Calcified granuloma may occur in the liver.

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Discussion Comments

anon135168

Is this a condition that insurance companies would consider a high risk condition?

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