Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two Patients with Longitudinal Nail Dystrophy

This past month, I saw two patients with median nail dystrophies. This is an area that has only rarely been written about. These patients are presented for your interest and thoughts. If you experience difficult with the comment function, you can email DJ Elpern with your thoughts.

Case 1.

55 yo man with a 1-2 year history of a linear striation of the left thumbnail. This is painful with pressure and occasionally spontaneously painful. There is a three mm in diameter pink striation in the left thumbnail beginning at the proximal nail fold. The distal portion of the nail is somewhat deformed and there is the suggestion of an erythematous subungual papule.
Diagnosis: Possible Subungual tumor. I am considering glomangioma. (See below for follow-up)
Questions: Would the best approach be to avulse the entire nail and then do a small elipse? What else would you do here?
Follow-up: The patient first saw a hand surgeon who recommended amputation of the distal portion of the digit. Scared, he saw a second hand surgeon who said he thought this was a glomus tumor and excised it. Pathology confirmed the diagnosis of Glomus Tumor. This photo was taken approximately two months post-surgery.

18 mo post surgery
24 mo post surgery

Case 2.
60 yo woman with 3 month history of an asymptomatic longitudinal split on the left thumbnail. No history of trauma.

Diagnosis: I favor median nail canal (dystrophia unguis mediana canaliformis) here, although at first was concerned about a subungual tumor.
Question: Would you observe or explore and biopsy? Has anyone had success treating this entity?
Follow-up: This lesion was excised by an orthopedic surgeon in November of 2011. It was a Glomus tumor.

Comment: Until I prepared these cases for presentation the diagnoses were less clear to me (perhaps I am wrong anyways). Getting them ready for VGRD-Blog was a good educational exercise. Joubert wrote: "To teach is to learn twice."

Nail References:
Verma SB. Glomus tumor-induced longitudinal splitting of nail mimicking median canaliform dystrophy. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2008 May-Jun;74(3):257-9. (Free Full Text)
Median canaliform deformity of the nail is an uncommon entity, where there is longitudinal splitting of the nail. Longitudinal splitting of the nail is a rare phenomenon and can also occur following number of growths arising in the nail matrix. On examination there was a longitudinal split in the nail plate, beginning in the distal nail fold and extending proximally all the way to the proximal nail fold. There was a small, almost indiscernible, swelling in that area, which was exquisitely tender. The split part of the nail showed a little discoloration. There was no discharge, bleeding, or subungual mass visible. 'Love test' was positive in this case. After nail avulsion, a small 2 mm x 4 mm nodule was exposed and excised. Histopathological examination of the tumor showed a mantle of glomus cells surrounding the blood vessels.

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