An umbilical granuloma is a moist, red lump of tissue that can form on a baby's navel (belly button). It can be seen in the first few weeks of life, after the umbilical cord has dried and fallen off. It's usually a minor problem that looks worse than it is. An umbilical granuloma does not cause pain. It may ooze a small amount of fluid that can make the skin around it red and irritated.
Your child's doctor may treat the granuloma if it doesn't go away by itself. The doctor may:
- Apply silver nitrate to shrink and slowly remove the granuloma. It may take 3 to 6 doctor visits to finish the treatment.
- Use surgical thread to tie off the granuloma at its base. The thread cuts off the blood supply to the granuloma. This will make it shrivel and fall off.
Neither of these treatments is painful.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Clean the area at least once a day and as needed during diaper changes or baths.
- Soak a cotton swab in warm water and mild soap. Squeeze out the excess water. Gently wipe around the sides of the navel. Also wipe the skin around the navel.
- Gently pat the area dry with a soft cloth.
- Keep the area dry.
- Keep your baby's diaper folded below the navel until the granuloma is healed. If that doesn't work well, try cutting out an area in the front of the diaper (before you put it on your baby) to keep the navel exposed to air.
- Bathe your baby carefully. Keep the area above the water level until it heals.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your baby has signs of an infection, such as:
- Increased swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
- Your baby cries when you touch the navel or the skin around it.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if your child has any problems.