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Ingrown toenail surgery

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown or ingrowing toenail happens when one of your toenails grows into and pierces the skin at the sides of your nail. It can be an extremely painful and unsightly problem, and it can make it painful to walk. 

Ingrown toenail

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Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

What happens during ingrown toenail surgery?

Ingrown toenail surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that removes all or part of the nail while the area has been numbed with a local anaesthetic. 

Whilst removing the nail will resolve the current problem, the nail will grow back and it is likely that you will be left with the same problem. In order to prevent the nail growing, the troublesome section of nail is removed and a strong chemical, phenol, is applied to prevent the nail from re-growing.  

Ingrown toenail surgery can help ensure: 

  • Less discomfort 
  • No episodes of infection 
  • Easier shoe choice 
  • Easier walking. 

If an ingrown toenail has been present for some time, there is often a build-up of excess tissue that bleeds easily and looks red. This is known as hypergranulation tissue and is an overreaction to the irritation or infection. This will be removed during the operation. 

The operation will be performed under local anaesthetic, so you are awake and can eat normally up until the time of your operation. The injection is given at the base of the affected toes.sh 

The operation will last for approximately 10 to 15 minutes per toe. A large dressing will be placed on your toes. We recommend that you bring an open toe sandal to wear after the procedure to accommodate your dressing. You should avoid wearing tight clothing. 

Whilst it cannot be guaranteed that you will never have another problem with the toe or be completely pain free, it is highly likely that your toe will be much improved. 

Preparing for your ingrown toenail surgery

Your surgeon will give you simple preparation advice to help you get ready for your operation.

You may be advised to stop taking medications a few days before surgery, particularly if you take aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs. If you smoke, you may be advised to stop. This is because smoking increases your chances of getting a wound infection, which can slow down your recovery after surgery.

We strongly recommend that you avoid public transport after your procedure, so please prepare a taxi or arrange an escort to take you home from the procedure. You will not be able to drive at least on the day of the procedure. You must avoid trauma to the surgery site following the procedure so please plan your work and activities accordingly.

You won’t be able to drive following the operation so you will need a lift or a taxi.

Recovering from ingrown toenail surgery

We generally advise you to rest the first night after the procedure and take pain killers as necessary. 

During the first week, you may feel some soreness because of the chemical used to destroy the nail bed. However, this can be helped by keeping the operation site draining. You will need to bathe your toe(s) in warm salt water for 15 minutes twice daily from the day after the operation. 

It is advisable to keep the toe covered with a sterile dressing to keep it clean. 

You should be able to get about fairly well but may need to take care with your shoe choice and avoid excessive activity. 

You will have a follow up consultation one week after the procedure. 

You will need to keep dressing the toe as above until the toe stops weeping. On average this occurs within 6 weeks of the operation. Generally, this is sooner rather than later, however any trauma to the area can delay healing. 

You should be relatively active during this period. 

Complications and side effects

Your consultant will discuss the risks and benefits of this surgery to help you make an informed decision.  

Complications are possible but infrequent. They may include:  

  • Prolonged weeping of the affected area 
  • Infection. This can occur during recovery although the operation is often performed due to an infected ingrown toenail, thus this is less likely once the nail has been removed 
  • A reaction to phenol (phenol flare) can occur but this is rare and will be dealt with if necessary (less than 1%) 
  • Re-growth of the nail. This occurs in approximately 5-8% of patients undergoing partial nail avulsion and 10% of those undergoing total nail avulsion. The re-growth is often less troublesome than the original problem but the procedure can be repeated if necessary. 
  • In rare cases, a small section of nail can re-grow beneath the skin at the base of the nail (less than 0.5%). This can form a small cyst, which requires excision. 
  • Blood clotting (thrombosis) in the deep veins of the leg (0.5%) can occur with any operation. This condition can result in a small piece of clot dislodging (embolism) and going to the lung (pulmonary embolism). This is extremely rare with this type of operation, as you remain mobile. However, if it does occur, it is a potentially life-threatening condition. 
  • Chronic regional pain syndrome is a very rare complication (less than 0.1%) that can occur following any surgery of the extremities, resulting in severe pain to the area. Specific medical treatment or a referral is often necessary to resolve the problem. However, precise diagnosis is difficult and a small number of affected patients are left with disabling long-term pain. 

What are the alternatives to ingrown toenail surgery

This surgery will only be recommended if other treatments have not worked or your case is severe. Alternative treatment methods can include: altering activity levels, using painkillers or changing footwear to wear extra-width or special footwear, possibly with an in-shoe foot support. Steroid injection therapy and surgical decompression are further options. 


Please call us to discuss pricing at your local clinic.

  • Bunion surgery £4,419.00

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