Comparative study of nail sampling techniques in onychomycosis

Avner Shemer, Batya Davidovici, Marcelo H. Grunwald, Henri Trau, Boaz Amichai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Onychomycosis is a common problem. Obtaining accurate laboratory test results before treatment is important in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to compare results of curettage and drilling techniques of nail sampling in the diagnosis of onychomycosis, and to establish the best technique and location of sampling. We evaluated 60 patients suffering from distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis and lateral subungual onychomycosis using curettage and vertical and horizontal drilling sampling techniques from three different sites of the infected nail. KOH examination and fungal culture were used for detection and identification of fungal infection. At each sample site, the horizontal drilling technique has a better culture sensitivity than curettage. Trichophyton rubrum was by far the most common pathogen detected by both techniques from all sampling sites. The drilling technique was found to be statistically better than curettage at each site of sampling, furthermore vertical drilling from the proximal part of the affected nail was found to be the best procedure for nail sampling. With each technique we found that the culture sensitivity improved as the location of the sample was more proximal. More types of pathogens were detected in samples taken by both methods from proximal parts of the affected nails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-414
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dermatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Curettage
  • Drilling
  • Nail sampling
  • Onychomycosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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