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Barré-Masson syndrome

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A benign tumor of the glomus body, occurring as a firm, round, reddish-blue encapsulated lesion about 0,5 to 2,5 cm in diameter on skin of distal parts of limbs, the nail beds being its most common sites.

Intense burning pain at the site of the tumor, which occurs spontaneously or is precipitated by temperature changes or touch, is the principal clinical symptom. A fear of using the extremity may cause severe atrophy of the limb from disuse.

Tumours are present at birth or appear within 20 years. Isolated tumours may appear also later. Etiology unknown. Usually sporadic. Familial (autosomal dominant) transmission reported.

The first description of the clinical picture in glomus tumours was made in 1812 by William Wood (1774-1822) as «painful cutaneous tubercle». P. Masson in 1924 made a comprehensive histological description; in 1941 Kaufmann and Clark first described multiple glomus tumours.


  • W. Wood:
    On painful subcutaneous tubercle.
    Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, 1812, 8: 283.
  • P. Masson:
    Le glomus neuro-myo-artériel des régions tactiles et ses tumeurs.
    Lyon médical, 1924, 21: 247-280. Étude anatomo-clinique de certaines tumeurs sous-unguéales doloreuses (tumeurs de glomus neuro-myo-artériel des extrémitiés).
    Bulletin de la Société française de dermatologie et de syphiligraphie, Paris, 1924, 31: 148-159.

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