We see a lot of patients with ingrowing toenails. A lot!
During your first visit to our foot care clinic, one of our podiatrists will assess the problem toe. They will try to establish why the nail has started to grow inwards and, if possible, resolve the problem there and then. Sometimes it will take two or three appointments to cure the problem. However, it is not always possible to cure the problem if it has become a chronic/long-standing issue. In some cases, when we see a client for the first time, the issue has been left for too long, which means it is too late for conservative treatment to be effective. Then, the only option left to break the cycle of pain and infection is nail surgery. Do not panic! It is not as bad as it sounds.
We are highly trained professionals, and able to perform the surgery at our clinic. We use a minimally invasive technique and carry out the surgery using local anaesthetic.
What Can I expect during the nail surgery?
Firstly, we administer an injection containing local anaesthetic to numb the toe. We will not start the procedure until we are sure that the toe is totally numb and that you will not feel a thing.
Then, we remove the offending section of nail and apply a chemical which stops the nail from growing back, either on one side or on both sides. Sometimes we remove the whole nail. However, this is always something that we would discuss with you prior to the procedure. We then dress the toe in an enormous bandage and you can go home. The appointment is booked for one hour with the surgery itself taking approximately 20 minutes (per toe).
There is very little, if any, pain after the procedure and most of our patients have a great night’s sleep – as the toe has finally stopped hurting!
You can return to work/school the following day. However, we recommend that you return to see us 24 hours after the procedure to have the bulky dressing changed into a smaller, more manageable one. We will then see you again seven days after the surgery.
As with any surgery, there are some possible side effects: there is a 5% chance of nail regrowth, infection, prolonged weeping, reaction to the phenol (the chemical used to prevent the nail from growing back) or bruising.
Unfortunately, all medical procedures carry a risk of failure and nail surgery is no exception; the expected nail regrowth rate is widely accepted as 5%. Should this happen, we would undertake the second procedure (on the same nail(s)), at no extra charge. However, this is very rare.
If you would like to discuss anything here in more detail, have an ingrowing toenail or have a family member or friend who suffers with one but is too nervous to come and see us, then please call us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.