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Nail Removal Surgery: The procedure, risks, complications, preparations

  • Posted on- Oct 08, 2016
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Written by site author.

Nail Removal is a procedure that involves removing a part, or all of the toenail or fingernail. It is also known as Onychectomy. A Nail Removal procedure involves the toe or finger nail.

What are the reasons behind a nail removal surgical procedure?

Nail Removal procedures may be performed for the following reasons:

  • To relieve pain associated with an ingrown toenail or fingernail
  • To remove a nail, damaged due to an injury
  • Infection within the nail, such as a fungal infection
  • Repairing a nail growth abnormality

How a nail removal surgical procedure is performed?

Nail Removal procedures are performed in the following manner:
  • Nail removal is usually done under local anaesthesia
  • A tourniquet is applied around the finger or toe at its base
  • The surgeon then slips a surgical instrument underneath the nail, to separate it from the underlying nail bed
  • The nail is then pulled out slowly and gently, and the finger or toe is bandaged

The Nail Removal procedure is performed by a general surgeon, general physician, dermatologist or podiatrist with or without assistance from an anaesthesiologist. The procedure usually takes a few minutes time.

Preparations needed before a nail removal surgical procedure

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area, prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products, for a while, before the surgery
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • For persons suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Risks and complications during nail removal surgical procedure

The possible risks or complications that may arise during the nail removal surgery are:

Risks and complications after nail removal surgical procedure

The possible risks and complications that may arise after a Nail Removal procedure are:
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound

Post-operative care needed after a nail removal surgical procedure

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended, after a Nail Removal procedure:
  • Avoid putting any pressure on the affected foot or hand for the next 24 hours, after the procedure. Then, proceed to slowly resume regular/daily activities
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication, as advised by your physician
  • Take antibiotic medication to help combat or prevent infection, as advised
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications, such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain (as prescribed)
  • Elevate the affected foot while resting for the first 24-48 hours after the procedure which helps decrease pain
  • Wear appropriately fitted footwear, if the procedure was performed on the toenail. In addition to this, wear cotton socks
  • Resume showering and keep the wound clean and dry. Gently wash the surgical wound with unscented soap. Apply non-prescription antibiotic ointment to the surgical wound and replace the dressings after showering
  • Usually, it takes approximately 3 weeks to fully recover from a Nail Removal procedure. The nail will ultimately grow back, after a certain period


user profile image
09-02-2017 04:05 AM

It is still an unknown surgery for most of the people. They find it not serious at all and leave it as it is.

user profile image
11-01-2017 07:00 AM

I had chronic toenail fungus, the treatment was done and nail removal surgery was performed to fully vanish the nail.

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