Nail Surgery

Ingrowing or Infected Toenails: Understanding and Treating the Discomfort

Ingrowing or infected toenails are not just common but can also be a source of significant discomfort and embarrassment for many. This issue typically arises from improper nail cutting techniques, trauma, or fungal infections. These factors can lead a small section of the nail to pierce the skin adjacent to it, potentially leading to inflammation and infection.

Fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution to this problem: nail surgery. Boasting an impressive track record of over 18 years performing surgeries on both infected and ingrowing toenails, Mr. Ernest is well-versed in alleviating the discomfort associated with this condition. He offers quick and efficient nail surgery services, ensuring that patients can receive the care they need.

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What Does the Treatment Involve?

To address an ingrowing or infected toenail, Mr. Ernest will undertake a procedure known as a partial nail avulsion (PNA), utilizing a chemical named phenol. This treatment involves the removal of the problematic, ingrowing segment of the nail, while preserving the rest of your nail plate intact.

Subsequently, the area formerly occupied by the removed piece of nail, referred to as the gutter, is cauterized with phenol. This step is crucial as it prevents the regrowth of the ingrowing part of the nail, effectively eliminating the source of pain.

Remarkably, the procedure is swift, taking merely 10 minutes to complete. It can be performed under local anaesthetic for immediate relief, or, if patients prefer, under sedation for added comfort during the treatment.

How Long Does it Take for the Wound to Heal?

Recovery from a partial nail avulsion (PNA) procedure typically spans 4-6 weeks. During this healing period, it’s essential to care for the wound by bathing the affected toe in salty water and routinely changing the dressing at home. This consistent wound care promotes the formation of a firm scab over the site of the avulsion.

Once the healing process is sufficiently advanced, this scab will naturally detach, revealing a healthy nail underneath. Following these care instructions diligently is key to ensuring a smooth and effective healing process.

Are There Risks or Side-Effects Following Nail Surgery?

Like any surgical intervention, nail surgery comes with its set of risks, which Mr Barlow-Kearsley will detail comprehensively before your treatment. This ensures that you are fully informed about what to expect during and after the procedure. The primary risks associated with nail surgery include:

  • Infection, with an occurrence rate of about 5%. It’s crucial to follow post-operative care instructions to minimize this risk.
  • Regrowth of the nail, which happens in approximately 4% of cases. This might necessitate further treatment.
  • Delayed or prolonged healing, which refers to cases where the healing process extends beyond 8 weeks.

Being aware of these potential outcomes allows you to make a well-informed decision about undergoing nail surgery and to prepare for the recovery phase effectively.