Subungual glomus tumour excision: The nail plate flap technique

  • Sandeep Mehrotra Dept of Plastic Surgery, Army Hospital (Research & Referral), New Delhi, India
  • Vikas Singh Dept of Plastic Surgery, Army Hospital (Research & Referral), New Delhi, India
  • Uday Singh Dadwal Specialist Surgery, Bahrain Specialist Hospital, Juffair, Manama, Bahrain
Keywords: glomus tumour, subungual, nail plate, flap


Subungual glomus tumours, though rare, cause distressing symptoms and merit surgical treatment with minimal morbidity. Approaches to the nail bed over the years have varied from earlier nail excisions to trans/sub/periungal techniques. Nail plate preservation has beneficial effects on pain, and cosmesis and surgical modifications to ensure the same are desirable. We employed a simple nail preservation technique on six patients over the last seven years. After an accurate localization of the lesion based on pin test and MRI, a proximally-based nail plate flap was marked and elevated beyond the glomus. The tumour was removed through a linear nail-bed incision, following which the nail plate flap was reposited without suturing. All cases had gratifying relief of symptoms. Within a few weeks of the excision, no nail distortion was noticeable. No recurrences were noted on follow-up for one year. The nail flap transungal approach relies on accurate preoperative tumour localization. It ensures a protective post-operative cover with reduced pain. A minimalistic approach with no skin incisions ensures less morbidity and improved cosmesis with no nail deformity. The nail plate flap technique can be employed in selected cases for improved outcomes.


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