What is involved in Nail Surgery?

What is nail surgery?

If you have a nail condition that cannot be resolved by routine care at the clinic, we may advise that you have either part of the nail removed (a partial nail avulsion) or the whole of the nail removed (a total nail avulsion). We then apply a chemical to the nail bed to stop the nail growing back.

Why do people have nail surgery?

The most common reason for having nail surgery is an ingrowing toenail. Anyone who has experienced this condition will know just how painful it is and also how frequently it causes painful infections. Removal of the piece of nail will relieve the pain and eliminate the cause of infections.

Sometimes nails are very thick and cause pain or discomfort from shoe pressure. In this case the whole of the nail needs to be removed.

What does nail surgery involve?

First of all we numb the area by giving a local anaesthetic injection into the base of the toe. When we are certain that your toe is completely numb, we put on a tourniquet (a band put around your toe to stop it from bleeding) and then we remove either a narrow piece of nail from the side causing the problem or the whole nail. Next we rub in a chemical (phenol) to stop the nail growing back.

Does it hurt?

The injection stings a bit but it is over quite quickly. After that you won’t feel any pain, although you will still feel us moving your toe about.

Will it hurt when the anaesthetic wears off?

The anaesthetic generally wears off after a couple of hours. You may feel some discomfort but this varies from person to person.
If necessary, take a pain relief tablet. Do not take any medication that contains aspirin as it may cause bleeding. However, if you take aspirin as part of your normal medication you should continue to do so.

Children under the age of 16 having the surgery must be accompanied by a person with legal parental responsibility. If you are not sure who has legal parental responsibility, please contact the clinic.

How long does the surgery take?

The procedure itself takes only a few minutes, but it may take a little while for your toe to go numb and there is quite a bit of paperwork. So, overall you should allow about an hour.