What is pyogenic granuloma (lobular capillary hemangioma)?

Updated: Feb 21, 2020
  • Author: Joseph C Pierson, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Pyogenic granuloma (lobular capillary hemangioma [1] ) is a relatively common benign vascular lesion of the skin and mucosa whose exact cause is unknown. Also see the Medscape Drugs & Diseases article Oral Pyogenic Granuloma.

Pyogenic granulomas are misnamed; they are neither infectious nor granulomatous. The lesion usually occurs in children and young adults as a solitary, glistening red papule or nodule that is prone to bleeding and ulceration. Pyogenic granulomas typically evolve rapidly over a period of a few weeks, most often on the head, neck, extremities, and upper trunk.

Pyogenic granuloma often arises in pregnancy (or rarely with oral contraceptive usage), particularly on the gingiva or elsewhere in the oral mucosa, and then is termed the "pregnancy tumor."

Other pyogenic granuloma variants that have been well documented include the disseminated, subcutaneous, intravenous, and medication-induced (for example, retinoid, antiretroviral, and oncologic agent) subtypes.

Removal of pyogenic granuloma is indicated to alleviate any bleeding, discomfort, cosmetic distress, and diagnostic uncertainty. A number of malignant tumors may clinically mimic pyogenic granuloma, making histopathologic confirmation important if the presentation is atypical.

Aside from cutaneous and oral lesions, pyogenic granuloma has been reported throughout the gastrointestinal tract and upper airway, at various ocular locations, the central nervous system, the bladder, and the internal vasculature. This article discusses only cutaneous and oral involvement.

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