Various types of tumors can affect the subungual space, including benign solid tumors (glomus tumor, subungual exostosis, soft-tissue chondroma, keratoacanthoma, hemangioma, lobular capillary hemangioma), benign cystic lesions (epidermal and mucoid cysts), and malignant tumors (squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma). Imaging plays an important role in the detection and differentiation of subungual tumors because of their small size, nonspecific clinical manifestations, and functional significance. Ultrasonography (US)-in particular, high-resolution US with color Doppler studies-provides useful information regarding tumor size, location, shape, and internal characteristics (cystic, solid, or mixed), but it is limited in the further characterization of tissue. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has an important role in categorizing tumors according to their anatomic location, pathologic origin, and signal characteristics. There is some overlap between the US and MR imaging features of subungual tumors; however, certain features can allow accurate diagnosis and expedite management when correlated with clinical and pathologic findings.
© RSNA, 2010.