It started out looking like a tiny wart. Then it grew, rapidly, swelling to monstrous size in just a few weeks beneath the surface of the skin. It looked to me like it could have been some sort of cancerous growth.
I made an appointment with a dermatologist and it turned out to be something benign but also obscure…at least to me. It was called a pyogenic granuloma, also known as a lobular capillary hemangioma.
A pyogenic granuloma is a benign vascular tumor, which occurs primarily in the skin or mucous membranes. Most frequently found on the hands or feet, these lesions also commonly occur on the face, head, neck, or inside the mouth.
A pyogenic granuloma will initially appear as a pinhead-sized bump or nodule. Most range from dark pink to red in color. Within weeks, the lesion may expand to several centimeters in size as it begins to protrude from the skin.
One of the most distressing aspects of a pyogenic granuloma is that it is subject to persistent bleeding: the slightest bump in the area of the tumor can cause it to bleed profusely. Because the lesion consists of new capillaries, sometimes the bleeding does not stop within the timeframe of a normal wound.
Even more disturbing is the uncertainty of the condition when it has not yet been diagnosed; it is, after all, a tumor, so it looks like a cancer to the layperson.
Surgery is the only way to remove a pyogenic granuloma. For mine, the procedure was a simple outpatient procedure under local anesthesia, and took less than fifteen minutes.
Pyogenic granulomas are mostly just an unsightly nuisance, but their resemblance to malignant tumors makes them a priority when they do appear. Anyone with a suspicious bump on the skin should visit a dermatologist promptly.