What is Involved in the Ingrown Toenail Surgery Procedure

An ingrown toenail is a painful condition that occurs when your toenail grows into a fold of skin on your toe. This causes your toe to become sore, red, and to swell. This surgery is routinely administered to treat this condition. Its purpose is to cut away the nail that is burrowing into your skin.

The surgery is performed in your doctor’s office. It is a minor procedure that only takes a few minutes. This surgery rarely has any complications and recovery is complete in under two weeks.

Your doctor will prepare your toe for the procedure by coating it with a povidone-iodine solution. He will then inject lidocaine into your toe to numb it in preparation for the surgery. It will take approximately ten minutes for your toe to become fully numb.

When your toe has lost all feeling, the doctor will insert a nail elevator under your toenail to raise it up from your nail bed so he can trim the part that is growing into your skin. Normally, for a first time ingrown toenail surgery, only a narrow portion of the nail is removed. People who experience repeated ingrown toenails may opt to have their entire nail removed to eliminate their problem for good. After the nail is removed, your doctor will cover your toe in antibiotic ointment and a gauze dressing.

When you return home, you will need to keep your foot elevated for about a day and soak your toe in warm water three times a day until it is healed. You will probably apply an antibiotic ointment twice daily and may also take oral antibiotics. You will have pain for a few days that can be relieved with over the counter medication. Avoid applying pressure on your toe through the wearing of tight shoes or socks or by activities such as running, for at least two weeks after your ingrown toenail surgery.

Serious complications of ingrown toenail surgery are rare but there is a possibility of excessive bleeding, a reaction to the injected anesthesia, and the spread of infection into the toe and nearby bones.

The vast majority of surgeries are uneventful and recovery is complete within 14 days. In order to prevent the need for additional surgeries, you should identify and correct the cause of your ingrown toenail. You may have an abnormally shaped nail and in that case, your ingrown toenail may reoccur as your nail grows out.

Other causes of an ingrown toenail include wearing shoes that put pressure on the tips of your toes and cutting your toenails at a downward angle. Wearing shoes that fit properly and trimming your nails straight across may help prevent ingrown toenails from forming in the future.

This surgery is a safe procedure that can bring relief from pain caused by a toenail growing under your skin. The surgery can usually be avoided by taking proper care of your feet and toenails. However, once a nail is ingrown and infection has set in, surgery is often the quickest path to relief.