Full-thickness skin graft after nail complex resection for malignant tumors Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Melanoma
  • Nail Diseases
  • Skin Neoplasms
  • Skin Transplantation


  • Melanoma in situ and early squamous cell carcinoma can be treated successfully with excision with narrow margins. However, as the extent of disease is known only after pathologic examination of the entire lesion, the appropriate initial surgical margin is a dilemma. Lesions that involve the nail complex present an additional challenge for surgeons-whether to excise the nail complex partially or completely. The ideal form of reconstruction is also in question. We elect to completely excise the nail complex with immediate reconstruction using a full-thickness skin graft, allowing complete tumor clearance and preserving the distal phalanx. We retrospectively reviewed records of patients who had undergone complete nail complex excision and immediate skin grafting. We assessed the need for additional procedures for positive resection margins, full-thickness skin graft take on the bare bone of the distal phalanx, and final aesthetic appearance. Our study included 9 patients who had surgery on a total of 10 digits. One patient underwent repeat resection with distal phalanx disarticulation after pathologic assessment revealed a positive margin for an invasive tumor No patients had a local recurrence. Two patients required a second procedure-one for excision of a nail remnant and another for excision of an epidermal inclusion cyst. All patients were satisfied with the results, with none wanting further nail reconstruction, and all returned to presurgery use of the hand. This technique is effective for managing melanoma in situ and early squamous cell carcinoma that affect the nail complex.

publication date

  • June 2011



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/BTH.0b013e3181ee7e00

PubMed ID

  • 21606778

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 84

end page

  • 6


  • 15


  • 2