Skill Checkup: Subungual Hematoma Drainage

Richard H. Sinert, DO


October 08, 2019

In patients with subungual hematoma, always check for the presence of an associated extensor tendon injury.

If nail removal is indicated to explore for complex nail bed lacerations (eg, if nail edges are disrupted with a deep laceration), subungual hematoma drainage is not indicated. Most simple nail bed lacerations do not require nail removal and laceration repair.

Subungual hematoma drainage is not necessary if the hematoma is not painful. If blood is spontaneously draining from the hematoma, drainage is also unlikely to be of additional benefit.

Drainage of the subungual hematoma does not accelerate healing or prevent infection.

This Skill Checkup was excerpted and adapted from the Medscape Drugs & Diseases article  Subungual Hematoma Drainage

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