Tangential excision of pigmented nail matrix lesions responsible for longitudinal melanonychia: Evaluation of the technique on a series of 30 patients

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We sought to assess the shave biopsy technique, which is a new surgical procedure for complete removal of longitudinal melanonychia. We evaluated the quality of the specimen submitted for pathological examination, assessed the postoperative outcome, and ascertained its indication between the other types of matrix biopsies.


This was a retrospective study performed at the dermatologic departments of the Universities of Liège and Brussels, Belgium, of 30 patients with longitudinal or total melanonychia.


Pathological diagnosis was made in all cases; 23 patients were followed up during a period of 6 to 40 months. Seventeen patients had no postoperative nail plate dystrophy (74%) but 16 patients had recurrence of pigmentation (70%).


This was a retrospective study.


Shave biopsy is an effective technique for dealing with nail matrix lesions that cause longitudinal melanonychia over 4 mm wide. Recurrence of pigmentation is the main drawback of the procedure.

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