What is a Pyogenic Granuloma?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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A pyogenic granuloma is a benign skin growth. These growths are most commonly found in or around the mouth although they can also be identified on the face, hands, and feet and they show up with lesser frequency on other areas of the body. While pyogenic granulomas are not harmful, they can be irritating or painful and sometimes a doctor may be concerned that a growth is actually not a pyogenic granuloma, and is actually cancerous. For these reasons, many people opt to have the growths removed, a process which can be quickly accomplished in a doctor's office or clinic as an outpatient procedure.

Pyogenic granulomas are overgrowths of tissue which are usually reddish in appearance. The growth may ooze or weep, and sometimes looks like a chunk of raw meat. These bumps are highly vascularized, meaning that they have a lot of blood vessels, which is why they bleed so profusely. A patient usually notices a pyogenic granuloma after an injury, and may initially mistake the growth for poorly healed skin or a scab.

When a doctor identifies a pyogenic granuloma, the usual recommendation is to remove the growth. This addresses pain and the inconvenience which can be caused by recurrent bleeding. In addition, it allows the doctor to send the tissue for biopsy to confirm that it is a pyogenic granuloma. Sometimes cancers can resemble these growths on a superficial level and a doctor may prefer to be safe rather than sorry.


Patients don't have to remove their pyogenic granulomas. If they should opt for removal, there are several techniques available, including techniques which will reduce the risk of recurrence such as scalpeling the growth away to remove the margins as well as the overgrowth itself. Cauterizing the site can have a similar effect.

Children, young adults, and pregnant women are all at increased risk of developing pyogenic granulomas. These growths can sometimes spread through the bloodstream as well and in some patients another growth may recur in a different location after the original growth has been removed. People on certain medications, especially acne medications, can also be prone to these benign overgrowths of tissue. When patients go to the doctor to treat any skin abnormality, it is advisable to make sure that the doctor has a list of currently used medications as well as relevant information in a patient's history such as a history of skin conditions.


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Post 2

@watson42- Ugh, I wish mine would just go away. I've had a small pyogenic granuloma on my tongue for a couple of years now, and only just found out what it is. My doctor doesn't think it's cancerous, but I'm hoping I can get it removed anyway, because it's painful sometimes.

Post 1

I never had one of these, though when I was a kid I had something like it. In my case, though, it was because as a small child I had sucked on my thumb and there was a weird welt from that for years afterwards. Thankfully it went away after a few years of not sucking my thumb, though.

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