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Background

Subungual glomus tumors are uncommon tumors that present with a classic triad of temperature sensitivity, pain, and localized tenderness. Different surgical approaches can be performed according to the anatomic location of the tumor.

Objective

To investigate the outcome of surgical excision of subungual glomus tumors according to anatomic location.

Methods

The records of 22 Korean patients diagnosed with subungual glomus tumor by histopathologic examination who underwent surgical excision over a 7-year period (2005–2011) were retrospectively reviewed. Local complications including persistence of symptoms, surgical methods, and tumor recurrence were evaluated through long-term follow-up.

Results

In the 22 patients, 13 tumors were located in the nail matrix and nine in the nail bed. No recurrence was observed after a mean follow-up of 36.6 months. Eight of the 13 patients with nail matrix involvement had complications such as nail deformity, decreased sensation, and prolonged pain sensation, whereas only one of the nine patients with nail bed lesion had prolonged pain sensation.

Conclusions

Careful dissection and complete removal of the tumor offered cure without recurrence; anatomic location of the subungual glomus tumor at initial presentation may predict postoperative complications.