Mees’ lines

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Mees’ lines (also known as Aldrich-Mees’ lines) are lines of discoloration across the nails of the fingers and toes named after Dutch physician R.A. Mees, who described the abnormality in 1919. They are typically white bands traversing the width of the nail. As the nail grows they move towards the end, and finally disappear when trimmed.

Among many causes some include:

  • arsenic poisoning
  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • cardiac failure
  • childbirth
  • chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • leprosy
  • malaria
  • myocardial infarction
  • pellagra
  • pneumonia
  • psoriasis
  • renal failure
  • sickle cell anemia
  • thallium poisoning