Management of umbilical granuloma in infants: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials

Aust J Gen Pract. 2021 Aug;50(8):589-594. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-04-20-5371.


Background and objectives: Umbilical granuloma is a common condition in infants. The aim of this study was to systematically review randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of topical treatment options for umbilical granuloma.

Method: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar and grey literature were searched in September 2020.

Results: Eleven RCTs (n = 890) that studied the use of silver nitrate, topical steroids, ethanol wipes, electrocautery, cryocautery, copper sulphate and common salt were included. Common salt achieved resolution in >90% of cases in five studies and 54-80% in two studies. Topical steroids, silver nitrate, copper sulphate and cryocautery achieved resolution in >90% and ethanol wipes in 50-65% of cases. Local side effects reported with topical steroids, silver nitrate, cryocautery and electrocautery varied in each study. Salt application did not cause side effects. The risk of bias was high in many RCTs.

Discussion: While the majority of the interventions were effective in treating umbilical granuloma, salt application appears to be simple and effective, with minimal complications.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Granuloma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic