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Demystifying The Dreaded Toe Nail Surgery

Surgical procedures are commonly performed by podiatrists .


Nail Surgery (Partial Nail Avulsion)



Surgical procedures are commonly performed by podiatrist to treat recurrent nail problems, such as ingrown toenails.


An ingrown toenail is a nail that has pierced (or is pressing against) the adjacent skin of the toe causing discomfort, pain and often times infection.


Surgery may be required when an ingrown toenail repeatedly gets:

  • infected

  • is painful

  • the patient is unable to wear shoes

  • or the condition inhibits work, sports or other activities.


Nail Surgery performed by the Podiatrist


One of the most common nail procedures is a partial nail avulsion (PNA). The procedure is usually performed in your podiatrist’ clinic room and the patient is able to walk immediately afterwards.



The procedure itself is generally performed under local anaesthetic via injection to the toe to numb the area. The anaesthetic will most often wear off in an hour after the procedure.


Once the toe is numbed, a tight elastic ring called a tourniquet is applied to the toe to control bleeding and the area is prepped and cleaned to minimise risk of infection.


The portion of nail to be removed is then gently lifted and resected, generally without the toe being cut or stitched. A chemical is then used to assist in preventing nail regrowth. Once the procedure is completed, the tourniquet is removed and a sterile surgical dressing is applied.


The patient is able to walk immediately afterwards, however assistance getting home is often recommended.


What happens after the procedure?


Re-dressing at home and a few consultations with your podiatrist may be required following the procedure.


Minimal pain relief medication is required-you can discuss this with your podiatrist.


What are the potential complications involved?


All surgical procedures have some risks of complication; however, this procedure is associated with a low rate of complications. You should discuss this with your podiatrist.


How your podiatrist can help?


Regular visits to your podiatrist can manage and prevent ingrown toenails, alleviate pain and help keep you on your feet and mobile.