Thumbnail image of: Ingrown Toenail: Illustration

Ingrown Toenail Removal

What is removal of an ingrown toenail?

This is a procedure to remove part or all of a toenail that has grown into the surrounding skin.

When is it used?

All or part of an ingrown nail may be removed if the area is painful, red and swollen, or infected, and other treatments have not worked.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Some medicines (like aspirin) may increase your risk of bleeding during or after the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Ask your provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any food or medicine allergies.
  • Plan for a ride home after the procedure in case you can’t drive yourself.
  • Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

A local anesthetic is injected into the toe to numb part or all of the toe. Then your healthcare provider will cut away and remove part or all of the toenail. Afterwards an antibiotic and a bandage are put on the toe. You can go home soon after the nail is removed.

If you have had several ingrown nails in the same toe, your provider may destroy part of the area that the nail grows from. This can be done with a chemical or an electric current. It may help to prevent the nail from becoming ingrown again.

What happens after the procedure?

If your toe is infected, your provider may prescribe an antibiotic to be taken by mouth. Take the medicine for as long as your healthcare provider prescribes, even if you feel better. If you stop taking the medicine too soon, you may not kill all of the bacteria and you may get sick again. Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • You may have problems with anesthesia.
  • You may have infection or bleeding.

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-06-17
Last reviewed: 2014-07-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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