Last reviewed 03/2021

A pterygium is a winglike, triangular flap of tissue; it derives from the Greek word pterygion meaning 'wing'.

In dermatology, a pterygium describes the cuticle growing forward onto the body of the nail due to excessive adherence during nail growth. It can be a sequel to lichen planus.

In ophthalmology, a pterygium is a degenerative condition of the eye affecting the conjunctiva and the cornea.

Popliteal or multiple pterygium syndrome is an inherited condition affecting the face, limbs and genitalia. Webbing is a key feature. Pterygium cubitale may be a feature of this syndrome.


  1. Pulse (2004); 64 (30):52.