Glomus tumour

What is a glomus tumour?

This is a rare benign (non-cancerous) growth often under the fingernail or fingertip pulp and can involve bone. 

How do I know if I have a glomus tumour?

It commonly causes severe pain in the fingertip in cold environments and extreme pain and sensitivity to touch. X-Ray and MRI can be useful tests in confirming the diagnosis.

Sub-ungal glomus tumour with bluish discolouration under the nail

Special clinical tests for glomus tumours

Test

Love’s pin test             

Hildreth’s test          

Cold insensitivity test

Transillumination test

Description

Pin head pressure applied to lesion causes equisite pain

Arm tourniquet relieves pain in fingertip

Ice cube placed on lesion causes increase in pain

Sensitivity

100%

100%

100%

Specificity

78%

71.4%

100%

How can it be treated?

Glomus tumours can be treated with surgical excision. Surgery can often be performed under local anaesthetic as a day case admission into hospital. 

If the glomus tumour is under the nail, the nail requires surgical removal and an incision made in the nail bed to remove the tumour.

What are the risks of surgery?

  • Recurrence – Glomus tumours can come back in up to 20% of cases, most commonly because of incomplete excision.
  • Persistent pain – If there are satellite lesions (other glomus tumour sites), pain may persist after surgery.
  • Nail damage – If the glomus tumour is underneath the nail, the nailbed (cells that support the normal nail), has to be split and repaired. Sometimes this can cause ridging or splitting of the nail as the nail regrows.
Glomus tumour surgery on finger pulp
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Dr Avanthi Mandaleson

Specialist Hand & Upper Limb Surgeon​
(BMedSci, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA)

For all appointments please call (03) 9456 9077