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J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013 Oct;6(4):196-203. doi: 10.4103/0974-2077.123401.

Transungual surgical excision of subungual glomus tumour.

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Department of Dermatology, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Department of Radiodiagnosis, Maulana Azad Medical College and LNH Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Department of Radiodiagnosis, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, New Delhi, India.



Glomus tumours are rare vascular tumours arising subungually in fingernails. Surgical excision provides histopathologic diagnosis and rapid resolution of symptoms.


Present study was aimed at delineating common presentations and long-term treatment outcome of this rare subungual tumour.


The clinical features and imaging results for 10 patients with subungual glomus tumours were recorded. All were treated with transungual excision. Per-operative findings and, treatment outcomes were recorded and analysed.


Females outnumbered males with average age being 33.3 ± 7.55 years. Presenting symptoms were severe pain (100%); nail-plate discoloration and onycholysis. X-ray was normal in 70%, though a magnetic resonance imaging done for five, helped visualise the lesion in three patients. The tumour involved nail bed in five cases and matrix in five, with an average size being 6.1 ± 2.13 mm (range 3-11 mm). An average follow-up of 16.8 months (range 8-24 months) was largely uneventful with longitudinal ridging in two cases and recurrence in two (both attributed to a sister lesion).


Subungual glomus tumours have characteristic clinical presentation. Imaging is helpful pre-operatively but has a low success rate. Transungual surgical excision is safe and effective, allowing better visualisation, easy exploration and minimal long-term complications.


Hildreth test; Love's sign; magnetic resonance imaging; nail plate repositioning

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