Nail Surgery At The Chelsea Clinic

Effective treatment for painful ingrown toe nails...

Paola Ash

Nail Surgery Treatment

What is Nail Surgery?

Nail Surgery is a common and effective treatment for painful ingrown toe nails that are not resolving with conservative care.  Surgery may then be required when an ingrown toenail repeatedly gets infected, is continually painful, the patient is unable to wear shoes or the condition inhibits work, sporting or other activities.

 Ingrowing toenail can be caused by abnormally curved, damaged, fungal, or thickened toe nails that grow into the adjacent skin. Shoe wear can also cause ingrown or painful nails. They are often easily treated conservatively by gently cutting away the offending nail spicule and then educating the patient on appropriate shoe wear and nail cutting techniques to prevent problems in the future.

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic which numbs the toe that is being treated and the anaesthesia will last for between 2-3 hours following the ingrown toenail surgery. Also, the procedure is conducted in the clinic room under strict sterilisation to minimise the risk of infection. A tourniquet is applied to the toe to minimise bleeding during the surgery. The offending portion of nail will then be gently removed without the need to cut any skin. A chemical is then used on the root of the nail to prevent that section of nail from regrowing and causing problems in the future.

Does nail surgery hurt?

Ingrown toenails can be painful especially if you press on or around the nail.

Some say that the anaesthetic injection before surgery can be likened to a small scratch.  But after the injection takes effect and the numbness sets in, you should be comfortable during the procedure.

You may also experience pain after surgery once the numbing medication wears off.  This is common and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. If these do not work for any reason please talk to your podiatrist.

A surgeon may undertake more invasive procedures such as:

The following techniques:

  • Wedge excision — Removing part of your toenail where it is growing into the skin, along with the area of tissue in the corner that your toenail grows from.
  • Nail avulsion — Removing your whole toenail.
  • Zadek’s procedure — Removing your whole toenail and then cutting away the area of tissue that your toenail grows from.
  • Nail-bed ablation — Removing part of the toenail or the whole toenail and then applying a chemical (usually phenol) to the area of tissue that the toenail grows from. Surgery or electrocautery (using heat from an electric current to remove harmful tissue) can also be used.
Nail removal: the separation of the nail plate from the surrounding structures, is the most frequently performed surgical procedure whereby chemical is then applied post procedure. The big toe is usually most commonly affected with the least aggressive but equally effective procedures and best cosmetic results.

Benefits Of This Treatment:

  • Quick and also effective (98.5% success rate)
  • Option of needle-free local anaesthetic prior to injection
  • Fast recovery and minimal discomfort following the procedure
  • No need for ongoing appointments once successfully removed

Ingrown toenail surgery prognosis

Generally, ingrown toenail surgery is safe and effective. If you have had a partial toenail removal, your nail may grow back in approximately three to four months if not chemical has been applied.  If you have a total nail removal, regrowth can take up to a year. (without chemical application).  

There are potential complications like infection which if the after care is carried out correctly this is less likely.  We will give you all the follow up dressing after care / instructions in order to avoid this.

How long to recover from Nail Surgery?

After a short while you will be able to go home. It is advised to spend most of your time having your leg raised for the next few days in order for the swelling settles. Afterwards, you can normally be back to being a little active. 

Also avoid sports or strenuous exercise for 2 to 3 weeks. Keeping the dressings dry. Your podiatrist will advise when you can return to normal activities. Try to cut your toenails straight across and do not leave sharp edges. 

Tips after Ingrown Toenail Surgery

A person can help speed their recovery after ingrown toenail surgery by:

  • soaking the foot in warm saline water or Epsom salts every day
  • taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to help with pain and swelling
  • applying an antibiotic ointment twice daily or as often as a doctor recommends, if there is an infection
  • keep the toe bandaged until it heals, which usually takes several weeks
  • keep the wound clean and dry, except when taking a quick showering or cleaning the area
  • avoid strenuous activity that puts pressure on the nail until a doctor permits a return to exercise
  • wear properly fitted shoes that are not too tight
  • avoid picking at the wound

For most people, the wound will heal within several weeks. The pain will steadily lessen in the days following surgery and should have gone by the time the wound heals. It can take several months for the nail to regrow if not chemical has been applied but the length of time will vary from person to person.

Toenail Removal UK

At the Chelsea clinic, you can be confident that you will receive the best possible care having performed countless numbers of this type of surgery. We will discuss and go through the best ways to target which ever condition you may present with as well as alternative options.

 

Check our blog about Ingrown Toenail here https://www.thechelseaclinic.uk/ingrown-toenails/

Read our article about Fungal Nails here https://www.thechelseaclinic.uk/fungal-nail-infections/

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