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Glomus Tumor

Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.

What is Glomus tumor?

This type of tumor is a non-cancerous, or benign, vascular tumor and it is also called a glomangioma or rare benign neoplasm which is an abnormal tumor or growth that consists of cells that divide and then reproduce independently of the normal tissue that surrounds it. It was first described in 1877 by a person named Hoyer but it was not until 1924 that a person by the name of Masson gave the first complete clinical description.

A glomus tumor is broad name that is given to vascular tumors that create an abnormal mass of cells which in turn lead to growth. Basically the medical term glomus tumor is used to diagnose several cutaneous conditions which are any medical condition that affects the organ system that encloses your body and includes your hair, nails, skin, etc with non-cancerous dermal growths.

There are also several subclasses that can be considered to be glomus tumors and are classified based on where they are located. A basic glomus tumor will usually grow in the soft tissue or the skin and is often limited to growing under your fingernails, in your foot, on the fingertip, or on the limbs but they can grow anywhere on your body, which includes your organs. This type of tumor accounts for less than two percent tumors that are considered soft tissue tumors. It appears that more women have solitary glomus tumors while men have multiple glomus tumors. Adults are the ones who get most of the solitary glomus tumors but approximately one third of the cases of having multiple glomus tumors happen in those who are younger than twenty years of age.

Symptoms of Glomus tumor

There are no real symptoms with glomus tumors but there are some characteristics that appear with them. Some of these characteristics can include:

  • Being solitary
  • Being small lesions less than two centimeters
  • Often being painful and when the glomus tumor is placed in cold water the pain is reproduced
  • Having a bluish discoloration but there may also be a whitish appearance
  • An elevation of your nail bed can happen

What are the causes of Glomus tumor?

Having a glomus tumor can occur from any one of the four possible genetic or inherited mutations. The growth of a glomus tumor is considered random if there is no mutation found. If it is inherited it can often skip generations before showing up again.


There are two findings that they use to diagnosis glomus tumors. These are the Hildreth sign and the Love test. They are used a lot to diagnosis any tumors that are found under your fingernails.

Hildreth sign

This is a decrease in the tenderness and pain that is caused when doing the Love test and involves using a tourniquet to encourage transient ischemia, which is a restriction in the blood supply to tissues.

Love’s Pin test

This is the test where pressure is applied to the suspected area with a pinhead or pencil tip to see if intense pain is elicited.

Treatment for Glomus tumor

Glomus tumors are usually surgically removed and once they are removed the surgeon will have a biopsy done on them to make sure that they are benign and not malignant.

Glomus Tumor Pictures

Pictures collection of glomus tumor…

Glomus tumor image

Glomus tumor picture

Glomus tumor photo

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