The joys of having a baby are endless. But, some of the side effects of pregnancy aren’t so great and can leave behind unwanted problems, like stretch marks, loose skin and fat, that are hard to correct. But, there’s another issue pregnancy can cause that’s received little attention called pyogenic granuloma, or “pregnancy tumor,” and its effects are pretty serious.
Occurring on the gums or oral mucous membranes anywhere on the body as well as the nose, pregnancy tumor is essentially a benign lesion. Beverly Hills, CA, facial plastic surgeon Behrooz Torkian, MD, says that pyogenic granulomas are often thought of as a benign growth of capillary vessels that can have local affects of discomfort and bleeding. “The causes of these tumors are unknown, but the possibility of previous trauma in the area of occurrence has been widely accepted,” adds Dr. Torkian.
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Transpiring in up to 5 percent of all pregnancies, Dr. Torkian goes on to say that while it’s unknown what exactly causes these benign tumors to grow during pregnancy, which can range from 0.5 centimeters to 2.5 centimeters, the fact that most resolve after delivery (but that’s not the case with everyone) and can recur with subsequent pregnancies suggests a tie to hormones or growth factors. “Interestingly, some medications like Accutane and oral contraceptive pills may be related to the onset of these lesions.”
The raised, reddish brown bumps can occur on their own or in small clusters usually during the first trimester of pregnancy and can be removed by surgically excising them, freezing them or cauterizing them. But Dr. Torkian says that if the tumor caused a deformation of the facial feature, reconstructive surgery may be necessary. “I currently have a patient that I am treating for these benign tumors and the corrections will change her life. We are doing a fascial graft to thicken the skin in the affected area and laser treatment to correct the coloring of the skin. She’s also having dermabrasion to address the texture and possibly filler or fat grafting to fine tune the contour of the nose.”
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