What is Papillomatosis?

Erin Oxendine
Erin Oxendine
Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis can impair the respiratory system.
Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis can impair the respiratory system.

Papillomatosis is a condition that causes multiple papillomas to develop on the skin or in the membranes of the body. Papillomas are growths similar to warts. These benign tumors form on different areas of the body and can impair the respiratory system. Even though papillomatosis is noncancerous, it can cause serious problems and may require medical treatment.

Papillomatosis can develop in the breasts as lesions in the breast ducts and tissue.
Papillomatosis can develop in the breasts as lesions in the breast ducts and tissue.

Doctors believe that papillomatosis is caused by a viral infection spread through contact with the skin. This illness can affect people of all ages and is not limited to any particular demographic. Although it is more common in humans, animals can also develop this virus. In animals, scientists believe the illness is transmitted from other infected animals and insects. It generally appears more in dogs and livestock and may be prevented with early vaccinations.

Papillomatosis in the breasts may be discovered during a mammogram.
Papillomatosis in the breasts may be discovered during a mammogram.

There are different types of papillomatosis. Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, also known as laryngeal papillomatosis, occurs when the virus grows in the respiratory area. Tumors often show up on the vocal cords, the trachea, and the lungs. While this disease is rare, if left untreated, patients may have problems with their voice box as well as impaired breathing. This is an aggressive form of papillomatosis and can reoccur even after doctors have removed the growths.

Ultrasound imaging may be used to diagnose some cases of laryngeal papillomatosis.
Ultrasound imaging may be used to diagnose some cases of laryngeal papillomatosis.

Papillomatosis can also develop in the breasts. When this happens, individuals often have single or multiple lesions in the breast ducts and tissue. Since some viral tumors in the breasts have been associated with cancer, physicians recommend examinations for any abnormal lumps or lesions. If the doctor finds suspicious cells or if the tumors are painful, the patient might need surgery to have the tumors removed.

In a patient with papillomatosis, tumors often show up on the vocal cords, the trachea and in the lungs.
In a patient with papillomatosis, tumors often show up on the vocal cords, the trachea and in the lungs.

Since surgery is usually a last resort, doctors often use other methods to try to manage these growths. Medication is often the first step in attempting to get rid of the benign tumors. Immune therapy is also another common treatment plan especially for patients who experience reoccurrences.

Generally, the outcome of patients with the papilloma virus is favorable, and scientists believe prevention can also help. Since some forms of this virus are highly contagious and put individuals at a higher risk for cancer, doctors have developed several vaccines that may prevent certain strands of the disease. While the vaccination is shown to be beneficial, individuals interested in getting it may want to check with their doctor first to make sure they meet the criteria for vaccination.

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    • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis can impair the respiratory system.
      Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis can impair the respiratory system.
    • Papillomatosis can develop in the breasts as lesions in the breast ducts and tissue.
      Papillomatosis can develop in the breasts as lesions in the breast ducts and tissue.
    • Papillomatosis in the breasts may be discovered during a mammogram.
      Papillomatosis in the breasts may be discovered during a mammogram.
    • Ultrasound imaging may be used to diagnose some cases of laryngeal papillomatosis.
      Ultrasound imaging may be used to diagnose some cases of laryngeal papillomatosis.
    • In a patient with papillomatosis, tumors often show up on the vocal cords, the trachea and in the lungs.
      In a patient with papillomatosis, tumors often show up on the vocal cords, the trachea and in the lungs.
    • Doctors recommend examinations for any abnormal lumps or lesions found in the breasts.
      Doctors recommend examinations for any abnormal lumps or lesions found in the breasts.
    • Respiratory papillomatosis that occurs on the lungs may cause impaired breathing.
      Respiratory papillomatosis that occurs on the lungs may cause impaired breathing.
    • Surgery may be required to treat papillomatosis.
      Surgery may be required to treat papillomatosis.