Heal – Nail Surgery

Sometimes surgery is unaviodable and the best option in very
severe cases. Here at Heal we make it our upmost priority to
make you feel comfortable and at ease, allowing you to
concentrate on recovery.

An ingrown toenail is a condition where the edge of the nail grows into the skin at the side of the nail. This can cause pain, a wound and lead to infection.

Nail surgery (or nail avulsion) is a minor operation to remove the whole nail or part of a nail, where there is an ingrown toe nail.

For most conditions, non-surgical foot and nail care may alleviate the symptoms of your problem in the short term, but is unlikely to provide a longer term solution. Cutting the nail can help with the pain or prevent infection, but this will not necessarily treat the problem in the long run. We recommend that you have nail surgery if infection or pain is occurring often.

Removal of all or part of the problematic nail is intended to both relieve and prevent the recurrence of such symptoms. This is done using a chemical called phenol which is usually applied after the removal of the nail, to kill the nail matrix from which the
nail grows.

Toe nail surgery is carried out painlessly under local anaesthetic. This is achieved by using an anaesthetic injection similar to that used by dentists.

A small piece of toenail is removed from the side that is problematic and a chemical is applied to prevent that piece of nail growing back again. Sometimes the degree of toenail problems means that we remove the whole nail.

You can usually go back to work the next day. You simply need to remember to keep your toe protected.

On The Day;

Leave your schedule open for the day to allow you to relax following surgery.

Have something small to eat prior to your appointment.

Local anaesthetic can typically last between 1 and 3 hours – therefore you should either bring
someone with you or arrange transport to and from the clinic, as you should not drive while your toe
is anaesthetised.

Please advise your podiatrist if you are uncomfortable around needles, so that we can work with you
to make your appointment as comfortable as possible.

You will need a sandal or open-toed shoe to wear on the foot following surgery, to accommodate any
dressings which may initially be quite large.

The site should take around 6 – 8 weeks to heal, however some health conditions can lead to a longer healing time. Any infection to the site can also slow healing, in addition to causing significant pain, so ensure that you carefully follow redressing advice, and keep your toe covered with a dressing until your podiatrist advises you otherwise. Over this period we see you
for re-dressings to ensure everything is healing well.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists estimates that nail avulsion with phenol is 97-98% successful in preventing the nail from growing back, however in some cases the phenol may fail to destroy all of the cells in the nail matrix leading to the regrowth of part or all of the nail.

On extremely rare occasions some patients may be prone to post operative infections. If you experience excessive pain, heat, swelling, bleeding or discharge from the surgical site, contact
your podiatrist. Some redness, discharge and swelling should be expected after the surgery and your podiatrist will be able to advise you as to whether your symptoms are likely to be part of the normal healing process or caused by an infection. If the site becomes infected we will work together with you and your GP to obtain a prescription of antibiotics.

The potential complications of nail surgery will be explained and fully discussed by your podiatrist.