Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common malignant tumor of the nail unit. No guidelines currently exist regarding the role of imaging in this specific location.
To investigate the utility of routine imaging in SCC of the nail apparatus.
A multi-institutional retrospective review of patients treated for nail unit SCC was performed. Data were collected on patient characteristics, tumor qualities, treatment, and radiographic imaging. A change in treatment was defined as more aggressive treatment (amputation) rather than local excision or Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS).
One hundred seven patients with nail unit SCC were identified. Approximately 44/107 (41.1%) of patients were imaged and 63/107 (58.9%) were not. Mohs micrographic surgery was the most common primary treatment (66.4%). Mohs micrographic surgery was more commonly performed in nonimaged patients, and amputation was more commonly performed in imaged patients (p < .001). Bony changes were identified in 13/44 (29.5%) of imaged patients. In 8/44 (18.2%), imaging findings caused a change in treatment. In 99/107 (92.5%) of the cohort, imaging was either not performed or did not change management.
In select cases, imaging may help guide patient management. Sufficient evidence does not yet exist to support routine imaging for patients with nail unit SCC.