There are many causes of ingrown toenails and many of these can be treated conservatively by a podiatrist in a regular appointment. However sometimes when necessary long standing nail problems can be treated more effectively by removing a portion of the nail plate and applying a chemical so it cannot grow back. Sometimes it will be advised that the whole nail is removed however if possible we try keep as much of your nail as possible.
Our suitably qualified podiatrists perform this simple procedure to prevent further complications of the nail plate. The surgery is performed under local anaesthetic, our podiatrist will ensure that you cannot feel any pain before any procedure is undertaken. Once the toe is numb the podiatrist will place a tourniquet on the toe so that the area can be worked on without any blood spoiling the view of the toe. Then the nail spike will be removed and a chemical called phenol applied so that the nail cannot grow back. This chemical causes a small burn to the nail matrix (which you cannot feel!) which is where the nail grows from. This process allows you to go back to normal activity after a couple of days without any cutting of the skin or stitches.
We recommend to bring open toed shoes to the nail surgery appointment as we will be applying a large dressing to protect the toe whilst it is at its most vulnerable. We would also recommend not to drive after the procedure as your toe will be numb for a number of hours afterwards. The surgery itself is not sore, however some patients do find that they experience some pain afterwards. It is advised to take some form of painkiller, as you would for a headache, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Within the next week we will arrange a further appointment to ensure the healing of nail bed. Then we will redress the toe and advise you to keep the wound covered for another two or three weeks after to ensure that it is kept clean for optimum healing.
Our podiatrists will only recommend nail surgery if they believe it is the best option for you. It is a small procedure that rarely lasts over 30 minutes and is usually pain free and gives you permanent relief from your nail problems.