Many people suffer discomfort from troublesome nails, such as ingrowing toenails which can become frequently infected, and thickened toenails, which can press on the toe causing corns under the nail. These problems can be resolved with nail surgery and may need no further treatment once healed. People often do not seek surgery to remedy the problem as they think it is a painful, complicated procedure under general anaesthetic involving a stay in hospital, crutches, and bedrest. However this is not the case. Your Podiatrist can carry out nail surgery using local anaesthetic and you will walk out of the clinic afterwards.
The Nail Surgery Procedure
If your Podiatrist advises you to have nail surgery to alleviate your discomfort, the procedure will be explained and any questions or concerns addressed.
- The procedure will take approximately 10 minutes per toe, although the whole appointment will take about an hour.
- As a local anaesthetic is used, there is no need to fast prior to surgery.
- You must bring a pair of open-toed sandals to accommodate the large dressing.
- You may also bring books/magazines and music to make you feel more comfortable.
- On arrival, you will be asked to remove your shoes and socks, we will then take your blood pressure and weigh you so we know how much anaesthesia to administer.
- A local anaesthetic injection is administered to both sides of the toe, once the toe has gone numb a tourniquet is placed over the toe to temporarily halt the blood flow.
- Your feet will be cleaned and covered with a surgical drape, leaving the toe requiring treatment exposed.
- The troublesome part of the nail is removed, and a chemical called phenol is applied to prevent it growing back and causing more problems.
- The tourniquet is then removed and a dressing applied, which must be kept dry and in place until the re-dressing appointment.
- Transport home must be arranged as you MUST NOT drive whilst your toe is numb.
- You should also take the rest of the day off school/college/work as rest helps the healing process. At home it is advisable to rest with your foot up.
- You may experience discomfort after the procedure, however this is usually minimal and you may take paracetamol or ibuprofen for relief, but NOT ASPIRIN as this induces bleeding.
- You must return to the clinic the following for re-dressings.
- If advice given by your Chiropodist/Podiatrist is followed, the area should heal well within 4-6 weeks, however physical sports and swimming should be avoided for 4 weeks.
Most nails do not regrow, however there is a small possibility that regrowth may occur. After surgery, the toe may become infected if not looked after properly. Therefore it’s paramount to follow all our advice given to minimise the risk.