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Nail surgery is the surgical removal of severe or returning ingrown and fungal toenails under local anaesthetic.
What is nail surgery?
Nail surgery is the partial or complete removal of a toenail whilst under local anaesthetic. Nail surgery is usually offered when a patient presents with a problematic ingrown toenail that is causing them a lot of discomfort. If the nail cannot be managed conservatively through regular podiatry visits, nail surgery is considered. Nail surgery may sometimes be offered if the nail is damaged due to a fungal infection.
Who can benefit from nail surgery?
Nail surgery will be offered depending on a patient's age and general health. Nail surgery is not advisable when a patient is pregnant, allergic to local anaesthetic, taking certain medications or has poor circulation. A full assessment prior to surgery will determine a patients' eligibility for surgery.
What does nail surgery involve?
If following an assessment, a patient is deemed eligible for nail surgery, the following procedure will be followed;
- The patient is seated in a comfortable position and the toe is disinfected to provide a clean site for injection
- Local anaesthetic is injected into the toe to make it numb
- Once the toe is completely numb a tourniquet is applied around the toe to prevent any bleeding during the procedure
- Once the tourniquet is applied, the edge of the nail or the complete nail is removed
- A special substance known as phenol is then applied over the nail bed to prevent regrowth
- The tourniquet is removed and a dressing is applied to the toe
- The patient is given advise on how to care for the toe following the procedure
- The patient will return to the clinic for assessment of the wound and to change their dressing
What are the benefits of nail surgery?
Nail surgery is extremely effective and has many benefits, they include;
- It has a high success rate
- It provides immediate relief from the pain associated with an ingrown toenail
- The nail is more visually aesthetic once the damaged or diseased nail is removed
- If the area is infected surgery removes the cause and therefore the infection
- The surgery can be carried out in clinic, hospital admission is not required
Similar treatments / services that could help?
Other treatments which may be offered as an alternative to nail surgery include;
- Conservative treatment with regular visits to the podiatrist
- Toenail reconstruction
- Education on the correct footwear to prevent any discomfort
- Advice on the correct nail cutting techniques
- Treatment of thickened fungal nails using a nail file or podiatry drill
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