Erythematous and Vascular Oral Mucosal Lesions: A Clinicopathologic Review of Red Entities

  • Kristin K. McNamaraEmail author
  • John R. Kalmar
Special Issue: Colors and Textures, a Review of Oral Mucosal Entities


Erythematous lesions of the oral mucosa are common and can reflect a variety of conditions, ranging from benign reactive or immunologically-mediated disorders to malignant disease. Together with vascular abnormalities, which can vary from reddish to bluish-purple in color, the differential diagnosis for erythematous oral mucosal change is quite diverse. This review focuses on salient clinical features and histopathologic findings of selected conditions which clinically present as red or vascular-like oral mucosal alterations, including oral vascular malformations and neoplasms, pyogenic granuloma, localized juvenile spongiotic gingival hyperplasia, denture stomatitis, benign migratory glossitis (geographic tongue), orofacial granulomatosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener granulomatosis), megaloblastic anemia, and erythroplakia. Recognition of the characteristic clinical features of these conditions, in conjunction with thorough patient history, will allow clinicians to narrow the differential diagnosis and guide appropriate clinical decision making, including the need for tissue biopsy, in order to complete the diagnostic process and initiate optimal patient care.


Erythematous Erythema Red Vascular Oral mucosa Diagnosis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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