Ingrown Toenail Surgery

Ingrown toenails are the most common toenail problem. As the nail irritates the skin, it often creates pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe. If the ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area.

Ingrown toenails may be caused by:

– Improperly trimmed nails

– Very curved edges of the nails

– Shoe pressure or repeated trauma to the feet from normal activities

– They can be inherited

– Previous or current nail problems, such as fungal infections or losing a toenail due to trauma

Most cases will require conservative treatment, while others may need surgical correction that can be conducted by your Local Podiatrist using local anaesthesia.

Nail surgery is a minor procedure that involves removing part or the entire toenail. This is done in such a way that the nail does not grow back.

When is Nail Surgery Required?

– When an ingrown toenail repeatedly gets infected

– When the toe is continually painful

– When you are unable to wear closed shoes

What does the Nail Surgery involve?

A pre-operative appointment is required at which a complete neurovascular examination is performed, history taken including a list of current medications and allergies to determine whether the patient is fit for surgery. Chronically infected toes may require an X-ray to rule out secondary bone infection and a visit to the GP for a course of antibiotics. All of the benefits and possible complications of nail surgery will be discussed by your Local Podiatrist at this appointment.

Procedure:

– At the operation appointment a local anaesthetic is injected to either side of the toe to numb it.

– Once the toe is numb a tourniquet is applied to prevent blood loss.

– The complete toenail or a small section of the offending toenail is removed from the side or sides of the nail while the rest of the nail remains intact.

– A chemical called phenol is then applied to the ‘matrix’ or ‘root’ of the toenail area to prevent the nail re-growing.

– The area is flushed with saline.

– Sterile dressings are applied to the toe and no stitching is required.

– A sandal, thong or a deep wide shoe is to be worn home.

– The dressing will need to be kept dry and will be changed by your Local podiatrist after 2-3 days, and will advise self-care instructions.

– A second follow-up visit will be booked after 5-7 days.

– The toe generally becomes completely healed in approximately 4-6 weeks.