Nail Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Nail surgery is a clinical procedure to remove part or the whole of a problematic nail. The procedure can be made permanent by the use of a chemical that will prevent the nail from growing back.

What kind of nail problems is the procedure suitable for?

The most common reason for nail surgery are in-growing toe nails. This painful condition can sometimes be a single episode, or a constantly repeating complication that can affect people for the whole of their lives unless treatment is sought. However, there are many nails conditions that may be suitable for nail surgery. When you attend for your initial consultation, all options will be discussed with you in order to decide if surgery is right for you.

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What happens during the surgery?

Before the procedure is carried out, we will take some details and perform an initial assessment to ensure that your foot/feet are suitable for surgery. We will explain the procedure, and ask you to sign a consent form.
The surgery is carried out under a local anaesthetic, which is given via two small injections into the base of the toe. Once the toe is numb, we will remove the nail, and apply a chemical called Phenol which will prevent the nail from growing back.

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What happens after the surgery?

We will dress the toe, and ask you to return within 3 days so that we can assess the progress. We can arrange a home visit for this initial check if that is more suitable. We will also want to assess the toe/toes again after another 7 days. You will be provided with dressings and information about changing your dressings at home. You may need to continue dressing the toe for up to 6 weeks.

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Will the nail ever grow back?

If you choose to have the surgery without having the Phenol applied, then the nail will grow back.
If you choose to have phenolisation, the nail bed is prevented from growing, and so your nail should never grow back. However, even with Phenol, there is a small chance that you will experience some re-growth, although this is unusual and often un-problomatic. Please feel free to discuss any concerns with us.

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Is the procedure painful?

There may be some discomfort whilst the local anaesthetic (LA) is injected. This is often described as a stinging sensation. However, once the LA has worked, the rest of the procedure is painless. You will feel movement as the procedure is carried out, as the LA only blocks out the pain signals, however we will ensure that the anaesthetic has worked before we continue.
You may also have some discomfort after the LA has worn off, and you will be advised to rest the foot.

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Will you have to remove all of my nail?

Not necessarily. It is often possible to remove only the problematic area/s of the nail, for example the side edges. During your assessment, we will discuss the best option for you.

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Are there any reasons that would prevent me from having the surgery?

There are several factors that are of concern. We would not be able to perform the surgery under any circumstances if you are allergic to the anaesthetic, if you have an infection at the site of injection (not at the nail itself) or if you do not sign the consent form.

We would also be concerned about surgery during early stages of pregnancy, and for certain medical conditions. We may also recommend you seek advice or antibiotic treatment from your GP before we perform the procedure. We will be able to discuss any concerns with you, so please feel free to contact us.

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Will you be able to perform the surgery at my first appointment?

Generally speaking, no. This is because suitability for nail surgery will need to be determined beforehand. We pride ourselves on providing the best care we can, and so will never perform at treatment that is unnecessary or unlikely to be successful.
However, we will provide any treatment we can on the day, and will book your nail surgery for within 7 days.

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How much will the procedure cost?

This will depend on the treatment that you are having. Prices start from £200

Prices include assessment and consultation on surgery day, the nail surgery and anaesthetic, a minimum of 2 follow-up consultations and all dressings.

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