Dealing with Melanonychia

Antonella Tosti, Bianca Maria Piraccini, Débora Cadore de Farias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Melanonychia describes a brown or black pigmentation of the nail plate caused by the presence of melanin. In this article, we review possible causes of melanonychia and discuss the main problems of management of patients with this condition. The goal in the management of melanonychia is early diagnosis of melanoma of the nail matrix and bed. Melanoma of the nail bed is also known as subungual melanoma. We discuss clinical, dermoscopic features that may help the clinician in selecting lesions that should have excisional biopsy and evaluate different options for the excision. Addressing melanonychia is still a difficult task, and the correct management of pigmented bands in children is far from established. Dermoscopy is possibly a useful tool but the real benefit of this technique, screening lesions to determine which ones need to be removed, remains to be proven.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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