Ingrown toenail is a rather painful medical condition. It also does not look very appealing. This condition is medically known as onychocryptosis. Penetration of the sharp edges of the toenail into the surrounding skin causes pain and this may also cause infection. In neglected cases superficial infection may spread onto the soft tissue of the toe or even affect underlying bones. Onychocryptosis is caused by inadequate cutting of the toenails. It can also occur due to uncomfortable footwear or even trauma.
Ingrown toenail is initially treated conservatively, usually with antibiotics, but majority of patients eventually have to undergo surgery.
Surgery for Ingrown Toenail
Before surgery doctors will try to treat infection caused by ingrown toenail with antibiotics. It is essential to eradicate infection even prior the surgery. Surgery is basically reserved for cases which do not respond to conservative therapy and for people who suffer from recurrence of ingrown toenails. This surgical procedure is rather simple and not invasive. The results are excellent and long-lasting.
Right before the surgery patients are administered local anesthesia. This will numb the operated area. The toe is cleaned with an antiseptic. This prevents infection. The blood loss is controlled by a tourniquet. The surgeon uses scalpel and loosens the nail and finally removes it.
Apart from removing the entire nail the surgeon can also remove a part of it. This type of surgery does not cause any changes to nail. On the other hand, in rather extreme cases of ingrown toenail after removal of the entire nail the surgeon kills the nail bed cells by certain chemicals. One of these chemicals is liquefied phenol. Killing of the nail bed cells can be also achieved by a surgical debridement or laser. This procedure results in cease of the nail growth.
After the surgery the toe is covered in dressing and the tourniquet is removed. Bandage is not supposed to be too tight as it may cause problems with circulation. Pain after the surgery is brought under control by pain killers.
Ingrown Toenail Surgery Recovery
The patients need to rest in bed for 2 to 3 days and the leg needs to be elevated. Bandage stays on the toenail for three days and is then removed and the operated area is treated with antiseptic. The operated area is then supposed to dry and patients are due to apply antibiotic ointments for certain period of time. The toe is bandaged again and the bandage stays until the wound completely heals. Recovery time for this surgery basically, depends on the type of surgery that has been performed. If the entire nail has been removed it will completely grow back in 3 to 4 months. If nail bed cells are destroyed the nail will not grow back ever again.