Umbilical granuloma refers to a pinkish, firm piece of abnormal tissue growth on the belly button after the umbilical cord dries and falls off. Granuloma sometimes produces a thick discharge but it is never accompanied by redness, swelling, warmth or fever. This abnormal tissue growth is relatively common and is not dangerous, however, it will not go away on its own. If left untreated, it can cause irritation and subsequently a great deal of discomfort to your baby. It remains unknown why some babies develop this abnormal tissue growth on their belly buttons and the others do not but it seems that it is not related to improper umbilical cord care. Umbilical granuloma is not a sign of an underlying condition and it does not pose any health risks to your baby, however, it is classified as umbilical abnormality which needs to be removed by your baby’s doctor. For that reason you are highly recommended to take your baby to his or her doctor if you think that he or she may have a granuloma or if you are not sure what that thing on your baby’s belly button is. Granuloma should not be confused with umbilical hernia which is characterized by a swelling or bulge on or near your baby’s belly button. This bulge is a result of a piece of intestine, fluid or fat protruding through an opening in the stomach muscles but it is usually harmless and does not require medical treatment. Both conditions look similar but your baby’s doctor will easily tell if baby has granuloma or hernia.
Umbilical granuloma can be easily treated in your doctor’s office. He or she may use silver nitrate to burn the abnormal tissue. However, relax because this procedure which is known as cauterization will not cause any pain to your baby as there are no nerve endings in granulomas. Your baby’s doctor may also decide to use liquid nitrate to freeze the abnormal tissue or tighten the granuloma at its base with a surgical thread which will cause the tissue to die and fall off. Which of the mentioned treatments for granuloma your baby’s doctor will choose depends on several factors but if you have any questions or if you are worried about the potential side effects, do not hesitate to ask your doctor about it. But in general, there is no reason to be concerned about the standard granuloma treatments because they are safe, while the risk of side effects is minimal.
Although granuloma is usually harmless, you are highly recommended to watch your baby’s belly button area and call you doctor if you are concerned about the granuloma’s appearance before or after the treatment. Call your baby’s doctor immediately if you notice redness or tenderness near or on your baby’s belly button, if there is any drainage from the granuloma or/and if your baby develops fever in order to exclude infection and other potentially serious causes of the worrying symptoms or to receive prompt medical treatment if necessary.