Glomus Tumors: Symptom Variations and Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Diagnosis
Ki Weon Ham ; In Sik Yun ; Kwan Chul Tark
Archives of Plastic Surgery, Vol.40(4) : 392~6, 2013
Archives of Plastic Surgery
The typical clinical symptoms of glomus tumors are pain, tenderness, and sensitivity to temperature change, and the presence of these clinical findings is helpful in diagnosis. However, the tumors often pose diagnostic difficulty because of variations in presentation and the nonspecific symptoms of glomus tumors. To the best of our knowledge, few studies have reported on the usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in diagnosing glomus tumors in patients with unspecific symptoms.
THE INCLUSION CRITERIA OF THIS STUDY WERE: having undergone surgery for subungual glomus tumor of the hand, histopathologic confirmation of glomus tumor, and having undergone preoperative MRI. Twenty-one patients were enrolled. The characteristics of the tumors and the presenting symptoms including pain, tenderness, and sensitivity to temperature change were retrospectively reviewed.
Five out of 21 patients (23%) did not show the typical glomus tumor symptom triad because they did not complain of pain provoked by coldness. Nevertheless, preoperative MRI showed well-defined small soft-tissue lesions on T1- and T2-weighted images, which are typical findings of glomus tumors. The tumors were completely resected and confirmed as glomus tumor histopathologically.
Early occult lesions of glomus tumor in the hand may not be revealed by physical examination because of their barely detectable symptoms. Moreover, subungual lesions may be particularly difficult to evaluate on physical examination. Our cases showed that MRI offers excellent diagnostic information in clinically undiagnosed or misdiagnosed patients. Preoperative MRI can accurately define the character and extent of glomus tumor, even though it is impalpable and invisible.