Ingrown Toenail Surgery

An ingrown toenail can be permanently corrected with a procedure called a chemical matrixectomy. This procedure involves removing either a portion of the nail that is ingrown or the entire toenail in certain cases.

To perform this procedure, we will first numb the toe with a local anesthetic. The necessary portion of nail is then carefully removed and a chemical called phenol will be applied to the root to prevent the ingrown toenail from returning. This is a simple procedure that we can perform in the office. There is very little pain after this procedure and most people can resume regular activities the following day.

Partial Toenail Removal

Total Toenail Removal

Post-operative Instructions

General information:

Stay off of your feet as much as possible today. You may wear any shoe, sandal or open toe footwear that does not squeeze, constrict or put pressure on your toe(s). Your toe(s) may remain numb for 6-10 hours or longer after the procedure. Slight bleeding, discoloration and drainage is normal and expected with this procedure.

Discomfort: You may elevate your foot to help reduce minor swelling and discomfort. You may also take over-the-counter pain relievers as directed. If the pain or discomfort is not controlled adequately, then contact our office.

Removing the Surgical Bandage: Starting the day after surgery, carefully remove the dressing and shower or bathe as normal. To make the bandage easier to remove, it may be helpful to soak your foot in warm water for 5-10 minutes before removal.

Changing the dressing:
It will be necessary to change the dressing once or twice a day during the healing period. You will need to use an over-the-counter triple antibiotic to cover the area of removal to help the healing process.

  1. Apply a small (pea-sized) amount of triple-antibiotic of choice to the area of nail removal.

  2. Cut a small piece of gauze to fit directly over the entire surgical area and place over toe. Gauze will help to absorb the drainage as the nail bed heals.

  3. Secure the gauze with band-aid, coban or tape without constricting the toe. The bandage should be applied around the toe resembling a ring. Repeat this entire process once or twice daily until your follow-up appointment.

What to expect during healing:
Redness, swelling and drainage is normal following this procedure. If a nail border was removed, it generally takes 2-4 weeks for the drainage to stop. If the entire nail was removed, it generally takes 6-8 weeks for the drainage to stop. Your doctor will give you additional information and instructions at your follow-up appointment.

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