OBJECTIVE: To review a large series of extradigital glomus tumors in order to gain a better understanding of their presentation and provide guidelines to aid in their diagnosis and treatment. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of all extradigital glomus tumors seen at our institution during a 20-year period (1985-2005) to document the incidence of the classic triad of symptoms, the duration of symptoms, the contribution of imaging to making a definitive diagnosis, and the effectiveness of treatment. RESULTS: Fifty-six different patients with extradigital glomus tumors presented as follows: glomus tumors in the hand (3), wrist (4), forearm (11), elbow (4), arm (4), shoulder (2), buttock (1), thigh (5), knee (10), leg (3), ankle (2), foot (2), back (1), nose (1), cheek (1), ear lobe (1), and trachea (1). Forty-eight patients presented with pain and localized tenderness, but only 1 patient presented with cold intolerance. The average duration of symptoms was greater than 7 years, with most patients being evaluated previously and having their conditions misdiagnosed. Magnetic resonance imaging proved to be the most useful modality for localization of these lesions. Surgical resection was the definitive treatment and generally provided immediate and sustained pain relief. CONCLUSIONS: Extradigital glomus tumors are not a rare subgroup of glomus tumors. Treatment outcomes are excellent, but misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are common. Improved guidelines regarding symptoms and diagnosis of these neoplasms may reduce the morbidity, ensuing chronic pain, and psychiatric consequences of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
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