Nail Surgery

A consultation is required with a Podiatrist to assess the Ingrowing Toenail. If the Podiatrist advises you that Nail Surgery is the most appropriate treatment, then the Podiatrist will talk you through the procedure, outlining the advantages of the operation and the disadvantages of not having the procedure.

Nail anatomy

Nail Surgery is an intervention carried out by a podiatrist and is practised throughout the world. It is a treatment most commonly used to treat Ingrowing Toenails, a painful condition affecting an estimated 10,000 people annually in the UK.

The first toe is the most common site although other toes can be affected. Every age group is affected but more commonly in adolescents and higher numbers in males. Ingrowing Toenails are thought to be caused by such contributions as trauma, poor nail cutting, ill-fitting footwear & biomechanical factors.

The ageing process and congenital malformation are also caustic factors. Ingrowing Toenails range from mild, which can be treated conservatively, to more painful stages which needs surgical measures to resolve the issue.

On the Day

When you come to the clinic for the procedure you will have a local anaesthetic and you will need to arrange for someone to come with you and drive you home. We advise that you refrain from driving for the rest of the day.

The Nail Surgery with take about an hour. You will need to wear a loose fitting trainer or sandals to your appointment to allow for the dressing. We will arrange a dressing change for the following day.

All subsequent redressing appointments are included in the initial procedure.

What will happen to me?

  • Your toe will be numbed using a local anaesthetic,
  • A tourniquet will be applied to stop your toe bleeding during the operation,
  • Depending on the severity, either the whole nail, one side or both sides of your toenail will be completely removed,
  • A chemical called phenol or sodium hydroxide will be applied, to prevent the nail growing back.

The advantages and disadvantages of Phenol will be explained by the Podiatrist.


  • Do not disturb or remove the dressing. Keep the initial dressing intact and dry until your redressing.
  • At home, remove shoes to relieve pressure and rest with your feet up for the remainder of the day.
  • Before the analgesia wears off, take some paracetamol.
  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • There maybe some bleeding through the dressing, this is quite normal. Tape more gauze over the wound. Do not remove the dressing.
  • If the bleeding continues, contact the clinic for further advice. If out of hours, contact the A&E department and take your instructions after surgery letter with you.
  • At your appointment for your first dressing change you will be given a dressing pack for you to redress your toe at home.
  • Subsequent appointments will be made to check the healing progress of your toe.