Footcare Scotland - The Foot & Ankle Experts
Nail surgery dressings

What to expect from nail surgery

It is understandable that you may feel slightly apprehensive before undergoing nail surgery -and this is perfectly normal! You may be thinking: will it hurt? Will I have to stay off my feet? Will there be lots of blood? What will my toe look like after? These common questions will be answered in this blog, aiming to demystify the “nail surgery experience”.

Nail Surgery

Perhaps calling the procedure nail surgery is slightly exaggerating the nature of what the process actually involves. “Surgery”, for some, may evoke feelings of pain and gore, however this couldn’t be further from reality. The procedure itself is painless, through the use of local anaesthetic, and virtually bloodless, as we use a tourniquet around the toe to minimise any bleeding. However, it is not to say that we do not treat the process seriously, and thoroughly assess each patients’ suitability prior to undergoing nail surgery.

Prior to the day of your nail surgery, you will have been assessed at a previous appointment to ensure you are medically suitable and able to undergo the procedure as, with any minor surgical procedure, there are some risks. These risks may include post-operative pain, bleeding or infection, allergic reaction to anaesthetic, prolonged numbness of the toe and a chance of nail regrowth. However, these are all explained in detail before undergoing the procedure to ensure you are fully informed and have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Comfortable, clean surroundings

Throughout the procedure, you will be lying comfortably in the chair with the back rest tilted to where you feel most comfortable. We will then administer the local anaesthetic to numb the affected toe. This may nip a bit, but your toe should be numb within a few minutes and from then, all you will feel is pressure – and no pain. Most people say the pain they are already having because of the nail is worse than the injection itself!

Painlessly carried out under anaesthesia

After making sure your toe is nice and numb, and you are feeling comfortable, we will start removing the nail. This part usually takes a matter of minutes and the procedure is over before you know it!  If you’d like more information on how the procedure is carried out, you can read our blog and watch the video HERE.  After it is done, we slowly bring your chair back up to sitting and have you relaxed in the chair for a few minutes, to ensure you are happy and well. During this time, we will give you more advice on how to look after your toe. It is then crucial that you go home and put your feet up for the rest of the day – that’s the best part!

Healing and looking after your toe

Healing time usually takes 4-8 weeks, but this can vary between individuals. We will give you a follow up appointment within a week of the procedure and it is important to keep the dressing clean and dry until then. At the follow up appointment, we will clean and redress your toe and, if the toe is healing well, we will teach you how to redress it yourself at home and supply you with what you need (there is also a video demonstration HERE!). It is important to keep changing the dressing every 2-3 days at home until the wound is completely healed.

Hopefully this has given more of an insight into what happens during a typical nail surgery and allowed it to be viewed as a permanent solution for a problem nail.

If you have a painful ingrown toenail and would like to book an appointment with one of our friendly, professional Podiatrists, please click HERE.