This is surgery to remove a toenail that has curled and grown into the skin, causing pain.
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The entire nail or the portion of the nail growing into the skin may be removed. It is most often done to:
If you are planning to have ingrown toenail removal, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
You will be given local anesthesia. Only the area that is being operated on will be numbed by an injection.
A local anesthetic will be used to numb the toe. Using special tools, the doctor will cut the nail down towards the cuticle (bottom of the nail). Then either the whole nail or part of the nail will be pulled off. A chemical may be put on the cuticle to prevent the nail that was removed from growing back.
Less than 1 hour
It will likely hurt some when the doctor injects the anesthetic into your toe. During the procedure, you will not feel pain, but you will feel pressure and tugging. After the procedure, you will likely have some pain. Your doctor may give you pain relievers.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Complete healing takes about 2-3 weeks. This will not interfere with most activities. If the entire nail was removed, your body will create a hard skin in its place. After the skin has covered the sensitive area, you can resume normal activities.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Diabetes Association
American Academy of Family Physicians
Nurses Entrepreneurial Foot Care Association of Canada
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association
Ingrown toenails. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.foothea... . Updated December 18, 2009. Accessed May 2, 2013.
Ingrown toenails. American Academy of Family Physicians' FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at: http://familydocto... . Updated December 2010. Accessed May 2, 2013.
Roberts JR, Hedges JR, Custalow C. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine . 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences. 2004; chap 52.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 3/18/2013