Footcare Scotland - The Foot & Ankle Experts
Michael Tomassi

Nail surgery FAQ’s

Nail Surgery: Top 5 FAQs

In this blog Podiatrist Michael Tomassi answers our top 5 nail surgery FAQ’s.

Nail surgery is a procedure that we routinely carry out in our clinic. It involves removing either a small portion of nail, or an entire nail, which is the cause of pain and/or infection. The most common reason for someone to undergo nail surgery is to treat an ingrown toenail.

Where conservative measures fail to resolve the discomfort caused by a painful ingrown toenail, nail surgery is a permanent and painless solution!

1) Is nail surgery painful?

Nail surgery itself is a painless procedure, as we first administer local anaesthetic to numb the affected toe. The injection itself is slightly uncomfortable, however it is over quickly, and the toe will be completely numb in approximately 2-3 minutes. As a result, the subsequent nail surgery procedure will be completely painless.

The effects of the anaesthetic lasts for around 2 hours. This usually provides enough post-operative pain relief but, if there is some pain at this time, a painkiller you would normally take for a headache (e.g. paracetamol) should help.

2) How long will it take for my toe to heal?

Healing times can vary; however, most people are fully healed from anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks. An average, healthy individual will be fully healed by 4-6 weeks. It should not be painful and normal daily activities can resume the next day.  Sometimes you may need a little bit of time out of certain sports/activities but we aim to keep this to a minimum.

3) Will my nail regrow?

A final stage of nail surgery is applying a chemical called phenol to the area where the nail used to be. The purpose of this is to prevent the nail (or portion of nail) from growing back.  There is a very small risk of the nail regrowing but this happens in less than 5% of cases.  Every precaution is taken to prevent the regrowth of the nail.

You can opt to not have the phenol applied and then the nail should regrow, however it may regrow to cause the same problems – or worse! For this reason, most people opt to have phenol applied.

4) What are the risks of nail surgery?

Nail surgery is a minor surgical procedure; however, it does carry some risks. In a nutshell, the main risks are: post-operative bleeding or infection, phenol burn, allergic reaction and nail regrowth. Although this may sound alarming, these are, thankfully, very rare occurrences. We will ensure these risks are fully explained to you and that precautions are taken to minimise these risks from occurring.

5) Will I need time off work?

We recommend you relax and put your feet up for the rest of the day following nail surgery. You will need to keep the dressing clean and dry until your next appointment, but most people manage to go about their normal activities from the next day onwards.

If you have an ingrowing or infected toenail, you can book a consultation with one of our experts by clicking HERE

 Written by Michael Tomassi BSc (Hons) HCPC Registered Podiatrist