Glomus tumour of the hands: A review of presentations and outcomes


George Thachilethu ABRAHAM, Biju BENJAMIN, Kylath George MAMMAN,

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, RIPAS Hospital, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam



Introduction: glomus tumour is a rare benign neoplasm of the normal neuroarterial structure called glomus body. They present with obscure symptoms making diagnosis difficult and delayed. Though classical symptoms and signs such as pain, temperature sensitivity, and point tenderness are described, imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging is increasingly being used for diagnosis. The aim of this study was to review the current understanding of glomus tumours of the hand in the context of the cases treated in Brunei Darussalam emphasising the importance of detailed clinical examination over imaging modalities. Materials and Methods: We present a series of seven patients diagnosed as glomus tumour and operated in our hospital from Sept 1997 to Sept 2009. Data was collected from the clinical and operative records regarding preoperative history and workup, intraoperative details, postoperative follow up and histopathology. Results: There were three male and four female patients with a median age of 37 years. All patients had severe fingertip pain on touch with positive Love’s test. One patient had hypersensitivity to cold.  Presumptive diagnosis of glomus tumour was made in six patients and foreign body granuloma in one patient based on detailed history and clinical examination alone. Histopathology confirmed glomus tumour in all the patients. All are asymptomatic after surgery. One patient had increased mitotic activity on histopathological examination and is on close follow up. Conclusion: High suspicion, detailed history and careful physical examination can significantly decrease the pre-operative morbidity of the patient with glomus tumour. An imaging study may not always be required for diagnosis. 


Keywords: Glomus tumour, glomangiosarcoma, hypersensitivity, diagnosis, imaging  


Correspondence author: Biju BENJAMIN, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, RIPAS Hospital, Bandar Seri Begawan BA 1710,Brunei Darussalam, E mail:


Brunei Int Med J. 2012; 8 (2): 66-70