Glomus Tumour

Overview of Glomus Tumour

Glomus tumor is a benign vascular tumor that produces from the glomus body.  Glomus body is a part of the dermis layer of skin that controls the thermoregulation in the human body. As the arterioles contract by a cold stimulator, glomus bodies get enlarged to prevent the heat loss.
Sometimes, glomus body tumor is similar to a paraganglioma, so don’t mix these two different diseases. In glomus tumors, the tiny blue-red colour nodules grow abnormally in the foot, under the nail, on a fingertip from the various areas of the body.  About less than 2% growth of the tumor has been observed of all soft tissue tumors.

There are three different kinds of Glomus tumors that include:

  • Single Glomus tumors – Only one tumor localized in a specific area.
  • Multiple Glomus tumors – More than one tumor in a specific area.
  • Congenital Glomus tumors –A tumor that is present by birth.

Prevalence of Glomus tumor

Glomus tumor is mostly present in people between the ages of 20-40 years. The occurrence rate of glomus tumor is higher in women than men. It is one of the rare diseases that's why the ratio is about 1 out of 1.5 million people cases. Mostly the glomus tumor affects the nail bed.

Signs and Symptoms of Glomus Tumour

The symptoms of glomus tumor have not exactly appeared, but only the following characteristics of the nodules have been noted.

  • Generally, a single tumor but can be more than one
  • Less than 2cm small lesions
  • Feeling pain, especially, when cold stimulants act on it.
  • Bluish stain but sometimes looks like a whitish appearance
  • A raised nail bed

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Causes of Glomus Tumour

The exact cause of glomus tumor is still ambiguous. A tumor is a group of modified smooth muscle cells of the glomus body that protrudes out from the neuron arterial plexus. Glomus tumors are considered hamartomas than true tumors. Hamartoma is a non-cancerous tumor-like bulge that is made of irregular growth of tissues and cells joined together in the affected part of the body. The severe pain arising due to glomus tumor is not completely known, but may be caused by pain neurotransmitter P in the nerve fibres in the tumor.

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Risk Factors of Glomus Tumour

There are no known risk factors for glomus tumor. However, the disease occurs among patients with neurofibromatosis.

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Prevention

There is not enough information regarding the prevention of glomus tumor. So, early detection and proper treatment are the ways that can prevent complications.

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Diagnosis

A general physician recommends various imaging tests to diagnose the glomus tumor. In tests, it may appear as osteolytic lesions localized in a particular region. A sclerotic border is also observed as a result of the enlarging mass arises gradually.

Most preferable diagnostic tests for glomus tumor is as follows:

  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan): This scan shows a detailed view of the area where glomus grows. It is also identified as the non-specific subungual mass.
  • Conventional Radiography: It is performed with the help of imaging plates to create certain images in which bordered osseous thinning or erosion of the adjacent cortical bone is determined.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): The test is conducted to see the different images of the body’s organs and structures. This is helpful to detect lesions in the soft tissues.
  • Ultrasound: This machine is useful for the determination of painful subungual hypoechoic lesions on the affected site. Hypervascularity is observed on the Doppler ultrasound.

 

Accuracy in diagnosis is very essential for the glomus tumor treatment because many lesions are misdiagnosed with venous malformations or hemangiomas. This makes it difficult to choose the precise treatment options.

Treatment of Glomus Tumour | When to Consult a Doctor

Several Treatment options for glomus tumor are given to eradicate the bluish coloured tiny nodules, which seems like a cancerous tumor. 

Surgery: This is the most appropriate choice of treatment which involves the tumor excision through surgery. This is beneficial to reduce pain and have less chance of recurrence. Also, the repairing of the nail bed after the subungual lesions have been removed.
Hypertonic Saline: A general physician makes up a saline solution and is injected to the patients for the removal of a glomus tumor. 
Laser Therapy: In this technique, a strong beam of light passes through the tumor and eliminates it properly. 
Sclerotherapy: The specific type of medicines is injected into the vessels for the removal of glomus tumor. 
In case you exhibit any concerning signs and symptoms for glomus tumor, consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

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Last updated on Thursday 20/10/2022

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Dr. Ali Akbar

General Surgeon, Oncologist | MBBS, FCPS (Surgical Oncology), FCPS (General Surgery)

Doctors HospitalRs 3000

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