What is a Focal Lesion?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2019
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A focal lesion is characterized by a tissue injury, which is sometimes infected or represented by a growth. There are many types of lesions, including herpes lesions, AIDS lesions, liver lesions, brain lesions and colon lesions. Some are treatable by lesion removal procedures, while others are not.

Herpes lesions, also known as mouth sores or cold sores, are caused by a virus known as herpes simplex and are highly contagious. With herpes, lesions are typically found on the mouth or genitalia. Sometimes, herpes lesions may be found in the eyes or on other areas of the skin. These types of lesions are spread by skin-to-skin contact and, once a person is infected with the virus, lesions will continue to occur intermittently throughout that person’s lifetime.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) lesions are a particular type of focal lesion caused by the virus’ presence in the body. Oral lesions, as well as brain lesions may also be present in those infected with the AIDS virus. Cutaneous lesions or skin lesions, also known as Kaposi’s sarcoma, are the most common type of focal lesion found in AIDS patients. Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that can spread quickly throughout the body while causing major complications.


A liver lesion is a particular type of focal lesion found in that organ. Such may be benign or malignant, although most are non-cancerous. Symptoms are often non-existent when a lesion is present in the liver. Although some may eventually cause pain, most don’t interfere with the liver’s normal functioning.

Brain lesions are characterized by abnormal tissue in the brain. Areas containing a focal lesion may appear lighter or darker than usual when examined using imaging, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computerized axial tomography (CT) scan. Brain lesions may be caused by an underlying illness and can be life threatening, although their presence is not an automatic indication of either.

Colon lesions are often found during colonoscopies, which are routine exams prescribed for older individuals or those with a history of gastrointestinal disorders. Often these lesions are an early indicator of colon cancer, although further testing is needed before this can be confirmed in a patient. Colon lesions are often benign. When left untreated, however, a focal lesion on the colon can become malignant.

Depending on its location, a focal lesion can be surgically removed. Some, however, are left to heal naturally under medical supervision, such as is the case with certain brain lesions. Herpes lesions disappear on their own once an outbreak has subsided and the virus has retreated. AIDS lesions often subside, as well, as the main virus is treated.


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Post 1
Lesions are not just a problem for animals. There is a type of nematode called pratylenchus. It's commonly called the lesion nematode.

They are a parasite in a large number of plants, mainly in temperate regions. These lesion nematodes feed and reproduce in the roots of these plants and they remain mobile, unlike other nematodes.

The major sign you might have a problem with these pests is the lesions they leave in the roots. These root lesions not only cause problems by leaching away vital nutrients, but they also become a pathway for other bacteria and fungi to enter. These foreign contaminants can cause infection in the plant.

The main body of the plant may become wilted and have stunted growth. Lesion nematodes can cause significant loss of crop yield.

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