Nail Surgery for Ingrowing Nails – How it works

Nail surgery for ingrowing toenails is a quick and easy procedure that gives a long-lasting cure for a very painful condition. An ingrown nail happens when a sharp piece at the side of the nail pierces the skin and causes inflammation. Often it won’t resolve unless the offending piece of nail is removed permanently.

What does nail surgery involve?

Nail surgery is carried out under a local anaesthetic. We make a small injection into the base of each side of the toe that requires surgery. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, we place a tourniquet over the toe. This stops excessive bleeding while the procedure is carried out. We then make a cut into the nail and remove the small section which is ingrowing. After this we add a chemical onto the nail bed to stop this part of the nail from re-growing. Once this is complete, we remove the torniquet and put a dressing over the toe. The whole procedure normally takes around half an hour.

How long does it take to heal?

As we put a chemical onto the nail bed to stop the problem coming back, it can take around 6-8 weeks to heal fully. This is because of the effect of the chemical on the skin. But we will carry out regular dressing changes in clinic to monitor the healing until we are happy that the toe is fully healed.

What’s included in the nail surgery package?

We include your actual surgery, a dressing pack for you to take away, post-operative advice and follow up dressing changes in your nail surgery package.

What can I do afterwards?

We don’t advise driving yourself after the surgery as the local anaesthetic will take a few hours to wear off. Driving with a partly numb foot is probably not the best idea! We advise you to go home and rest for the remainder of the day, and to keep your foot elevated where possible. The affected toe may be a little tender once the anaesthetic has worn off. It may be advisable to take paracetamol if you need to later on. The dressing we apply at first can be a bit bulky so it may be better to wear some roomy shoes or sliders for a few days after the surgery. Once we see you back for the first dressing change, we put a smaller dressing on. From this point if it’s comfortable, you can go about your normal activities as before. We wouldn’t recommend any kicking sports for a while longer though!

If you'd like to discuss any problems with ingrown toenails, get in touch with us here

The Royal College of Podiatry have some great information on ingrowing toenails here.