Umbilical (Bellybutton) Granuloma

What is an umbilical granuloma?

An umbilical granuloma is a red ball of tissue that stays on your baby’s bellybutton after the umbilical cord falls off. Without treatment, it will ooze and irritate your baby for several months.

What is the cause?

The exact cause of this problem is not known. It does not mean that you have not taken good care of your baby’s umbilical cord.

What are the symptoms?

Your baby has a bright red ball of tissue on the bellybutton that has sticky mucus on it.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your child.

How is it treated?

There are different ways to remove a granuloma. Your healthcare provider may:

  • Put a chemical on the tissue that removes it by drying it.
  • Use liquid nitrogen (a very cold liquid) to freeze the tissue.
  • Tie the granuloma tight at the base with surgical thread. This will cause the extra tissue to die and eventually fall off.
  • Use a sharp tool to cut off the extra tissue.

Because the granuloma has no nerves in it, these treatments don’t hurt.

How can I take care of my child?

After treatment by your child’s healthcare provider, you can help the tissue heal by wiping around the area with clean water several times each day. The treated area will have a crusty scab that will fall off by itself.

Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-02-05
Last reviewed: 2014-01-30
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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