Glomus tumor

Glomus tumor

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

Key Points
*Benign tumor of the glomus cells, which are modified smooth muscle cells surrounding small blood vessels, primarily located in the skin

Generally occurs as a solitary, bluish  painful lesion on a finger or toe, but a rare inheirited version exists in which there are many glomus tumors present. Glomus tumors are  rare, benign tumors generally affecting the nail bed of a finger or toe. The tumor forms in the glomus body, a collection of cells  around blood vessels in the skin which regulate skin temperature. The tumor generally appears as a single, painful nodule, about a centimeter in size and bluish or red-blue in color. Pain in the lesion may be intense and episodic, and affected by changes in temperature.  In some cases multiple tumors may be seen, but this is quite uncommon and may run in families.

Glomus formation is most commonly seen in young adulthood.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Blue Nevi
Kaposi Sarcoma
Maffucci Syndrome

Key Points
*Initial diagnosis based on lesion appearance, typical location, and symptoms (pain)
*Skin Biopsy or other test may be performed to confirm diagnosis and to rule out other, similar appearing conditions

Glomus tumors are initially diagnosed based on the appearance of the lesion. Skin biopsies or other tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis, and to rule out other, similar-appearing conditions.

*Solitary tumors are  treated with excision
*Treatment is more difficult in the case of multiple tumors

As a general rule, solitary tumors are removed by surgical excision. Excision becomes more difficult when there are multiple tumors, as the form close together and may actually join into larger plaques. Other therapies which may be utilized by health care professionals include laser treatments, hypertonic saline Injections (Sclerotherapy).

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