An ingrown toenail can be quite painful and may look ugly. While it can be cured using antibiotics, some severe cases would require surgery. This article provides some information about the surgery that is used in the treatment of this condition.
An ingrown toenail, also known as onychocryptosis is a condition characterized by a part of the nail penetrating the skin, sometimes also leading to an infection. This would also be accompanied by pain around the toenail edges and in the nail groove. The soft tissues around the nail would be infected due to this condition. In serious cases, the toenail infection can further spread and affect the bones. It is important to remember that the toenail first penetrates the skin and it may or may not get infected. Usually, poor cutting of nail, uncomfortable footwear, or a trauma causes this condition. One can always try treating this condition with help of some home remedies. However, in extreme cases, surgery would be the only option left.
Before this surgery is considered, the concerned doctor would prescribe some antibiotics to treat the problem. The treatment would also include medications for getting rid of the infection. If the problem does not get cured by these or if it keeps on occurring again and again, surgery must be considered. The surgery involved is a minor one, that consists of a simple procedure and it is believed to give positive and permanent results.
Step 1: A local anesthesia would be given before starting the surgery. Now, the affected toe would be cleaned with an antiseptic to avoid any infection. A tourniquet would be applied to decrease the blood loss. The nail would be loosened from the affected toe, using a scalpel. It would be further removed.
Step 2: There are different minor surgical procedures that might be considered for removing the nail. In some cases, only an edge of the nail might be removed. In this case the nail bed is not disturbed. In very severe cases, the entire nail would be removed and the nail bed cells would be killed using a chemical such as liquefied phenol. A surgical debridement or laser might also be considered for doing this. In this case the nail won’t grow back.
Step 3: Finally, the dressing would be done using a non-stick paraffin gauze and crepe bandage. The tourniquet would be removed at the end. The blood circulation would be checked to ensure that the bandage is not too tight. Painkillers would also be prescribed.
Step 4: The doctor would ask to keep the foot elevated while going back home, and also while resting it for 2-3 days. The cost of the surgery is not much. It would vary according to the area where the clinic is situated and the cost of living at that particular place. Most of the doctors would charge, depending upon the time required and the severity of the condition.
The recovery period would depend on the type of surgery performed. In case the entire toenail has been removed, it will take 3-4 months to regrow. In case the nail bed is killed, it won’t grow back. The pain would be relieved in 3-4 days. Following the recommended aftercare is very essential for proper and fast recovery.
Once the affected person undergoes this surgery, he/she would be required to follow the undermentioned aftercare.
Keep the bandage on 3 days. On the third day, it must be removed and the area must be cleaned with an antiseptic. Dry the area properly and apply any antibiotic ointment given by the doctor. Then, bandage it again. Follow this procedure twice a day, until it heals. After a day or two, one can continue their routine work. It is best to avoid vigorous activities like running, at least for two weeks after the surgery. One should make sure to wear an open shoe, such as peep-toe shoes, open sandals, or very comfortable shoes for two weeks. Avoid wearing high heels or tight and ill fitting shoes. Wear socks to protect the nail. Make sure to trim the nails straight across without curving at corners.
Ingrown toenail surgery is very effective in treating this problem. Make sure that one follows the doctor’s instructions and consults him in case of swelling, severe pain, discharge, or redness.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.