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Ingrowing Nail Surgery

What Is Ingrowing Nail Surgery And How Is It Done?

At Flawless Feet Podiatry & Laser Clinic our preferred procedure for ingrowing toenails is a partial nail excision and chemical matrixectomy done under local anaesthetic. This has been shown through research to be the most reliable form of procedure to reduce the risk of recurrence caused by a regrowth of the nail. Nail surgery is generally very safe, with very minimal pain afterwards, and can be safely performed in an office based clinical setting.

This procedure involves removal of the outside edge of the nail, with the associated area of nail root (matrix), and treatment of the area where the nail root is located with a chemical (phenol) to destroy the cells which are responsible for nail growth. It is done under a local anaesthetic toe block, which means there is no discomfort during or immediately after the procedure, and you can return home directly afterwards. Cosmetically, the nail plate will look slightly narrower once fully healed, and this is usually barely noticeable.

After the procedure, you will be sent home with the toe bandaged and instructions on what to do (pain medications, elevation, rest, keep dry, etc). Typically, we will review you within a couple of days and change the dressing, and then given you instructions on self management of the toe (ie changing dressings yourself) over the coming 1-2 weeks. We will then normally review the toe again at that point to make sure it is healing properly, and then follow up with you as necessary after then.

Who is suited to having ingrown toenail surgery?

Most sufferers of chronic ingrowing toenails will be suitable for the procedure, however there are some situations where this may not be appropriate. This includes patients with medical conditions where there is poor circulation in the foot, certain medication treatments, or if there are other health problems you podiatrist feels may affect your ability to recover suitably from the procedure.

What are the benefits and risks?


The principle benefit of ingrowing toenail surgery is to provide a permanent solution to chronic pain, discomfort or infection affecting the toe. Left untreated, chronic ingrown toenails can in some circumstances lead to severe infections, affecting the toe bones and causing a deep infection known as osteomyelitis, which can be very difficult to treat.

The long-term cosmetic result of nail surgery is often very good, particularly if the nail is highly curved and we have found this to be a very pleasing part of this type of surgery. By following the advice and rehabilitation programme advised us you will have the best possible chance of gaining an amazing outcome.


No surgical procedure, no matter how large or small, is without risk.

The most common issues that may occur following ingrown toenail surgery are infection, recurrence or delayed healing. Typically, the chance of developing any of these problems with ingrown toenail surgery is very small, and measured at only a few percent of all surgical cases in healthy individuals.

A partial nail ablation (PNA) with matrix phenolisation has a success rate of about 95%.  Regrowth of nail will occur in 5% of cases.  This will, in all likelihood, require a further procedure to deal with the problem.

Because of these potential risks, we will explain and discuss these issues with you, and ask that you complete a consent form to indicate you are aware of these risks before we undertake care of your ingrown toenail.

If you are a SELF FUNDING patient you will be covered by the Flawless Feet Nail Surgery Guarantee, which means that we will undertake a second procedure, at no cost to you, assuming that you have not developed a clinical contra-indication to the procedure.

INSURED patients will still be covered by their medical insurance in this unlikely event.

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