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Musculoskelet Surg. 2016 Apr;100(1):43-8. doi: 10.1007/s12306-015-0374-z. Epub 2015 May 10.

Nail-preserving modified lateral subperiosteal approach for subungual glomus tumour: a novel surgical approach.

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Department of Orthopaedics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi, 110029, India.
Department of Orthopaedics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi, 110029, India.



Glomus tumours are benign, vascular neoplasms arising from glomus body and are often found near the fingertips. Complete surgical excision of the tumour must be ensured to avoid its recurrence. Several surgical approaches for its excision have been described in the literature; however, most of the approaches are associated with nail deformity in the post-operative period or fail to offer a complete exposure of the tumour. We wish to share our experience with our described nail-preserving modified lateral subperiosteal approach, where on account of the distal curve over the pulp tip, we achieve a large flap yielding an excellent exposure of the tumour mass.


We retrospectively evaluated 30 patients with subungual glomus tumour who were operated using this approach at a mean follow-up of 35.33 months. All patients were assessed for relief in the pre-operative symptoms, nail deformity, recurrence or any other complications.


All wounds healed well without any possible wound complications such as wound dehiscence, suture margin necrosis or infection. At the end of the follow-up, all patients were relieved of the pre-operative symptoms. There was no evidence of deformity of nail or fingertip. No patient had recurrence. All the operated fingers were functionally normal.


Nail-preserving modified lateral subperiosteal approach does not damage the nail bed or interosseous supports to the distal phalanx. It is a very simple, less time-consuming approach for the resection of subungual tumours, and we would like to recommend it to our fellow orthopaedic surgeons.


Approach; Excision; Glomus tumour; Lateral; Nail; Recurrence

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