By Gary M. White, MD
Glomus tumors (GT) are rare, benign neuromuscular tumors. They represent hamartomas derived from the glomus body, an arteriovenous shunt involved in temperature regulation. Multiple congenital glomus tumors are called glomangiomas.
- GTs are common on the hand where glomus bodies are particularly prevalent.
- GTs characteristically occur subungually. In 50% of these cases, Xray will show bone erosion.
- The most common patient is a woman 30-50 years of age.
- There may be pain, tenderness, and temperature sensitivity.
A solitary, dark red or purple vascular papule in an adult is typical. Although they may occur anywhere, subungual lesions are not unusual. In that case, the nail may take on a bluish color. These lesions may be exquisitely painful to pinpoint pressure. Cold sensitivity is tested by submerging the affected hand in cold water to see if this invokes lesional pain.
No treatment needs to be done. For painful lesions, surgical excision may be done [Dermatologic Surgery 2015;487].
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