Surgery for an Ingrown Toenail


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This patient suffered from a chronic ingrown toenail on the outside (lateral) border of her large toe (hallux). The location is marked with an arrow. From left to right:

  1. The toe was anesthetized, prepped with antiseptic, and a tourniquet applied.
  2. The lateral border of the nail has been removed.
  3. Liquefied phenol is applied to cauterize the nail matrix (growth area) and nail bed.
  4. The chemical cautery is complete.
  5. All wrapped up and ready to go home!

The procedure is painless, as the toe is put “to sleep” with a local anesthetic agent. There is minimal post-operative discomfort. The wound heals in about four to six weeks. During this period it is simply dressed with topical antibiotic and band-aids. After healing the nail is normal in appearance, somewhat more narrow than before. The incurvated nail border is gone, leaving a toenail unlikely to ingrow again.


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