What is toenail surgery?

What is toenail surgery?

Toenail surgery  is a commonly performed in-house management option for sufferer’s of ingrown toenails.

Are you experiencing reoccurring infected and painful toe nails?

Classics signs of an ingrown toe nail with signs of infection redness, swollen, pus, odour and pain.

Nail surgery; the procedure:

A qualified podiatrist will administer local anaesthetic into the affected toe to numb the area before surgery. This will allow for a pain free procedure. After the toe is numb, a tourniquet (rubber band) is applied to control bleeding. The podiatrist may then remove the affected side or the whole nail. We will discuss pre surgery which option may be more beneficial. A chemical called phenol will then be applied to destroy the nail matrix (where the nail grows from). Phenol prevents the nail from growing back. Evidence does show a 90-98% success rate with phenol.

The toe will then be dressed and you can go home to rest after the surgery. A review appointment will be made for the first redressing in 48-72 hours. The podiatrist will also explain self-care at home.

Benefits of nail surgery:

To resolve pain, persistent infections, to cure ingrown toe nails, improved appearance.

Risks of toenail surgery:

Nail regrowth, delayed healing, pain, phenol burn, post-operative infection, bleeding, and anaphylaxis.

Before your appointment/surgery:

Bring a pair of open toed shoes to the clinic to be worn after the surgery.  Provide a record of known medical conditions, medications and allergies.

Try to organise a family member, friend or colleague to pick you up after the surgery.

The nail will be marked showing how much nail will be removed. We care about removing the least amount of nail and at the same time reducing the rate of nail damage, regrowth and pain.

We will also discuss conservative management options if you would like to try other options pre-surgery.

After nail surgery:

Your toe will be numb for 2-4 hours after the surgery.

Dressing should be keep dry until the first podiatry review. A plastic glove and plastic bag may assist.

If there is pain take a paracetamol but not Aspirin since this may lead to an increase in bleeding.

Do not take dressing off if bleeding, apply another dressing on top of the current dressing.

Rest the foot in a raised position above the hip if possible to assist with swelling and bleeding.

The patient will be given our Foot Hot Line, you may call at any time if you have a questions.


Below is a series of photo showing the healing process of toe nail surgery:


Day of partial nail avulsion (signs of infection present)

2 weeks post partial nail avulsion (50% healed)

4 weeks post bilateral partial nail avulsion (fully healed)

Our podiatrists are trained in both conservative and surgical procedures.  If you have an oozy, painful or infected nail please do not hesitate to contact our clinic.


Post by: Quay Health Podiatrist