Toenail removal is a minor surgical procedure that removes either the entire toenail or a portion of the toenail that is diseased, damaged, or very painful. People who have experienced trauma to a toenail, have an ingrown toenail, or have severe or recurring toenail fungus may often resort to toenail removal when other, more conservative treatments haven’t worked.
If you have a difficult to treat fungal nail infection, or if you have a suppressed immune system or diabetes, your podiatrist may recommend removal of the affected toenail to prevent the infection from spreading to other toenails or beyond your feet.
Partial nail removal may also be done for diagnostic purposes to allow your doctor to more closely examine the nail bed and surrounding tissue before deciding whether to conduct a biopsy.
What Happens During A Toenail Removal Procedure
Toenail removal is a simple procedure and usually takes no more than twenty minutes. It can be performed on an outpatient basis in your podiatrist’s office. To start, your doctor will inject a local anesthetic into your toe to prevent pain. During the procedure, the entire nail or just a portion of the nail may be removed. If you want to avoid future infection by permanently preventing the nail from growing back, your doctor can also destroy the nail matrix. The matrix is the layer of cells at the root of the nail that produces keratin, the material the nail is composed of. After the nail has been removed, a chemical can be applied to the cuticle area which will permanently prevent nail regrowth. After the procedure, an antibiotic ointment and bandage will be applied to the wound.
Toenail Removal Recovery
For the first few weeks after having your toenail removed, you will need to keep the wound clean and dry while it heals. You will most likely wear a bandage for about two weeks, and your mobility may be somewhat limited during this time. It may take several months for your toenail to completely grow back. Side effects and complications are minimal after the procedure. The most common problems experienced after toenail removal surgery are pain, infection, and a nail that grows back with an abnormal shape or appearance.
How To Prepare For Toenail Removal
Before having your toenail removed, be sure to ask your doctor questions about the procedure so you have a thorough understanding of what to expect. Some questions you might want to ask your doctor about your toenail removal procedure include:
- How long will the toenail removal procedure take?
- How successful is toenail removal in treating my foot problem?
- How much pain should I expect after toenail removal surgery? How can I manage post-procedure pain?
- How long will it take to recover from toenail removal surgery?
- How soon can I resume regular activities?
- What post-surgical symptoms should I watch for and report?
If you’re suffering from a painful ingrown toenail or hard-to-treat toenail fungus, a partial or complete toenail removal may provide the relief you need. Schedule an appointment today to speak with Dr. Lamour about your options.