Performed under local anaesthetic
Ingrown toenail surgery is a partial nail excision and chemical matrixectomy performed under local anaesthetic.
It involves the removal of the ingrown portion of the toenail, together with the corresponding portion of nail root, and the application of a chemical to prevent that portion of the toenail from regrowing.
We perform ingrown toenail surgery in the Foot Health Clinic consultation rooms under sterile conditions. The procedure takes approximately one hour.
Is ingrown toenail surgery painful?
Our surgical technique for ingrown toenails is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no cutting of the skin and no stitches. This reduces the time it takes the toe to heal and minimises any postoperative pain.
Prior to surgery, we administer a local anaesthetic that numbs your entire toe for one-two hours, so there is no pain during or immediately after the procedure. If there is any discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off, it is usually well managed with paracetamol, rest and elevation of the foot.
Will I need time off work or school?
Immediately after the procedure you should rest and keep your foot elevated for the rest of the day. You will also need to wear an open-toe shoe for one to two weeks, and avoid high heels and tight-fitting footwear.
Most people recover very quickly from ingrown toenail surgery and are able to return to work or school within a day or two. Children should not participate in physical education, sport or swimming for two weeks after the procedure.
If you have a physically demanding or dirty occupation we suggest you arrange your surgery to coincide with some time off work.
Will I need to take antibiotics?
With any surgical procedure there is a risk of developing an infection as the wound heals. It is important that you follow our instructions for cleaning and dressing your toe, and that you keep your toe clean and dry.
We will review your foot regularly after surgery to ensure your toe is healing well. As long as there are no signs of infection (increasing pain, pus, heat, redness or swelling), it is unlikely you will need to take antibiotics.
Do you remove the entire toenail?
In most cases, we only need to remove one edge of the nail. Once the toe is healed the toenail simply looks slightly narrower, and it can be difficult to tell that there has been any surgical correction.
In more severe cases, where the nail is severely deformed and causing pain on both edges of the toe, we may recommend removing the entire toenail to achieve the best result.
Can an ingrown toenail grow back after surgery?
Yes, an ingrown toenail can sometimes grow back after surgical treatment, but this is not common. During your procedure we apply a chemical called phenol to the nail bed to stop the edge of your nail from regrowing.
Our minimally invasive surgical technique is considered the most effective available in minimising the risk of recurrence of an ingrown toenail.
What are the advantages of ingrown toenail surgery?
Ingrown toenail surgery may be the preferable treatment option for chronic ingrown toenails that fail to respond to more conservative care. It should be considered, however, that ingrown toenail surgery:
- may not be suitable for people with conditions affecting the blood circulation in their feet
- will usually require a short period of post-surgical recovery and assessment
- may cause a marginal change to the cosmetic appearance of the toenail following recovery
To find out if ingrown toenail surgery is an option for you, contact us.