How is the Surgery Performed?

Ingrowing toe nails can be dealt with in several ways. If the affected part of the nail is only on the side, then a wedge excision can be performed. This removes a part of the nail, and more importantly, the tissue underneath where the nail grows from. This is done by cutting and also by applying a chemical to prevent re-growth of the nail.

If the nail has already had this treatment, or there are other problems, then the nail can be completely removed and the whole area where the nail grows from is removed surgically and then a chemical applied to kill any remaining cells capable of producing  a new nail.

Surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, but can be carried out with local anaesthetic injections behind the knee or around the ankle. The injections are normally given while you are asleep for your comfort. They can give good pain relief for the first day after the operation. You can go home the same day in the evening but should keep the foot highly elevated to prevent bleeding.

Risks of Surgery

Bleeding, infection, poor skin healing, recurrence, and a need for further surgery.

There is a small risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs (DVT and PE), and there are also risks from anaesthesia - the process of being put to sleep for your operation.

Risks of Anaesthesia

The injection behind your knee is given using an ultrasound machine to guide the needle. There is a less than 1% chance of injury to the nerve. General anaesthetic also carries risks. These risks are proportional to your general health. You will need to be assessed for your fitness for surgery and an Anaesthetist will be able to advise you on your individual risk.

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