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Skin Treatments

Nail Surgery

Nail Surgery is a fast and successful permanent way out to numerous agonizing conditions of the nail. This surgery removes a portion or all of a nail under local anesthetic.  This is performed in combination with chemical removal of the nail bed to avoid probable return of the initial problem such as in-grown or involuted nails.


The most common reason for conducting nail surgery is to treat an in-grown toe-nail, and about 20% of people visit their doctors to ask help with this condition. An in-grown toe nail takes place when a nail has been chipped off or wrongly cut which leaves a nail spike or a rough shoulder. This may go through the soft tissue in the nail groove and grow to be painful and infected. It usually affects the big toe, and may also be a result of tight-fitting footwear.


On the other hand, involuted toe-nails are curls from side to side which results in pressure mounting in the nail groove alongside the edges of the nail. This may produce corns and hard skin which are uncomfortable.


Generally, nail conditions are treated with traditional methods such as applying antibiotics, removing the nail or taking away the nail bed. In some instances, these are also treated at home by wearing sandals, soaking the affected toe in warm water, and cleaning the area to facilitate healing on its own.


However, these solutions are temporary and sometimes the infections may return resulting in acute pain. However, if there are signs of infection, one should see and a doctor and seek medical care, especially if they have health conditions, such as diabetes and poor circulation. If the problem persists, then nail surgery is recommended.

How Nail Surgery Works

The procedure for nail surgery is simple. An in-grown toe-nail surgery is generally an outpatient procedure where the doctor using local anesthesia when conducting the surgery. For in-grown toe nail, an anesthetic is firstly injected into the toe base to make it numb. A part of the nail and the nail bed which is swollen is then cut out. The nail bed is then removed using a chemical and a covering bandage is then put on. 


In Singapore, a common in-grown toe-nail treatment is known as the partial nail avulsion with matrix phenolisation. This easy procedure takes about 35 minutes, and it involves removing the damaged part of the root, or matrix, to prevent it from growing back again. As a result, the nail is transformed into a beautifully reshaped nail, about 3 millimetres narrower in width.


For involuted nails, the entire nail and nail bed are cut out leaving only the skin. The whole procedure requires an hour with follow-up check ups to monitor its healing process. Discomfort may follow for at most two days due to the bandage and the tenderness of the toe, but other than that, it is an uncomplicated surgery.


The nail surgery does not pose any difficulty and are rarely dangerous. However, there is the risk of bleeding in the first 12 hours which may cause inconvenience. 


Visit a Podiatrist Today

Seeking a podiatrist’s expertise is an excellent way to gain the best care and solution for one’s nail surgery needs. However, podiatrists in Singapore should have a podiatry degree from a recognized university to qualify for treatment. Frequently, they are qualified from the United Kingdom or Australia.


Nail Surgery Timeline and Tips

To speed up one’s recovery time after the surgery, necessary measures can be taken, such as keeping the wound clean and dry, and applying antibiotic treatment as recommended by the doctor. One can also facilitate healing by keeping the wound bandaged until into completely heals, or following the doctor’s recommendations to avoid strenuous activities that put pressure on the nail.


Pain can also be controlled with painkillers and infections can be treated with antibiotics under doctor’s prescriptions. The healing process takes a week or so and the chance of recurrences of the nail problem is uncommon. 


The pain will lessen in the days following surgery until it fully heals with time. It will take several months for the treated nail to regrow, but it will vary from one person to another.

Frequently Asked Questions:

A: Nail surgery is conducted under local anesthetic, making it a painless procedure for the affected toe. The injection itself is slightly uncomfortable, but the effect lasts for about 2 hours, which is enough to get you through and post-operation.

A: Healing times will vary, but healthy patients can completely heal by 4-6 weeks, while most individuals heal between 4-8 weeks. One needs more time to recover before going back to work or playing sports, depending on one’s shoe type and the nature of activity.

A: Generally, a partial or total nail avulsion surgery lasts up to 45 minutes. Longer time will take if more toes will be treated. It will also depend on the assessment of one’s podiatrist.