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Subungual Hematoma (Bleeding Under Nail) (cont.)

Subungual Hematoma Pictures

A thumb after it was hit with a large hammer. Notice that the dark discoloration beneath the nail takes up more than 75% of the area. This is blood. This hematoma required drainage to relieve the pressure. Click to view larger image.

The battery-operated cautery unit and its tip when it is activated. Notice the red hot area used to burn the hole in the nail.Click to view larger image.

The process of burning a hole in the nail to relieve the hematoma. Notice the blood draining from the hole after the hole was formed with the cautery unit's hot tip. The finger has been numbed prior to this procedure. Click to view larger image.

The same thumb after it has been drained. Notice the hole in the nail and the blood draining from the hole. The large dark area beneath the nail (the hematoma) is practically gone. Click to view larger image.

An example of a nail with a subungual hematoma that occupies less than 25% of the nail area. This hematoma did not require drainage. Click to view larger image.

The same subungual hematoma three-and-one-half weeks after the original injury. Click to view larger image.

A paperclip opened for use in draining a subungual hematoma. The open end would be heated to allow it to make a hole in the nail. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine


Bope, Edward T., and Rick D. Kellerman. Conn's Current Therapy 2012. 1st ed. Philadephia: Elsevier, 2012.

Roberts, James R., and Jerris R. Hedges. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2009.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/14/2014
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Subungual Hematoma (Bleeding Under Nail) - Causes

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Subungual Hematoma - Treatment

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Hand, Subungual Hematoma Drainage »

Subungual hematomas are common nail bed injuries caused by blunt or sharp trauma to the fingers or toes.

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