Ingrown toenail surgery

Procedure to remove a toenail that has grown into the surrounding skin

An ingrown toenail happens when one of your toenails grows into and pierces the skin at the sides of your nail. It can be an extremely painful and unsightly problem.

Ingrown toenail surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that removes all or part of the nail while the area has been numbed with a local anaesthetic.

Why us

  • Fast access to treatment when you need it
  • Internationally and nationally renowned consultants
  • Clear, inclusive pricing
Typical Hospital Stay

Same day discharge

Type of anaesthetic


Covered by health insurance?


Available to self-pay?


Find a consultant at Sussex Premier Health

Mr Michael Dunning

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Henry Willmott

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Matthew Miller

Consultant General Surgeon

Mr Michail Klimovskij

Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon

Your initial consultation

At Sussex Premier Health, you will have a formal consultation with a Consultant Surgeon . During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

What to expect on the day of you procedure

A local anaesthetic will be given, your surgeon will then use the most suitable technique to remove the nail depending on how ingrown it is whether one or both sides are affected and whether there’s an infection.

Sometimes your surgeon will remove the whole nail or they may remove only the small wedge of nail growing into your skin – this is the most common approach. Folds of skin alongside the nail may also be cut away.

Once the nail has been removed, an antibiotic ointment is usually applied to the operated area and the toe is dressed with bandages.

If this is a recurring problem your surgeon will apply a chemical called phenol after the operation to help stop the problem recurring. If your nail is infected a course of antibiotics may be prescribed and any pus will be drained away.

Your foot will then be wrapped in a bandage.


This procedure is carried out as a day case so you can expect to go home the same day. After the operation, your toe will be sore but this should ease after a few days and we will give you pain relief medication. Wearing soft or open-toed shoes for the first few days will also help.

Your new nail will be an odd shape and colour and will probably look different to your other toenails.

If your nail bed is treated with phenol, you might develop inflammation inside your toe causing your foot to swell. This is rare.

We will give you anti-inflammatory drugs for the swelling and provide you with a 14 day supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital.

Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.

For guidance on your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.

blepharoplasty at Sussex Premier Health

When we discharge you we’ll talk to you about whether your dressings need to be removed and we’ll make an appointment to see your consultant again.

You should rest your foot and keep it raised for one to two days after the operation.

You will probably be able to return to your job in a couple of days. Your surgeon will give you advice about when you can return to work, as this will depend on the job that you do. You may not be able to wear hard-toed shoes for a week or two.

To help prevent the problem from coming back, wear shoes that fit properly and remember to change your socks (or tights) every day.

After you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.

On rare occasions, complications following ingrown toenail surgery can occur. You may experience any of these symptoms:

  • gets more painful after a few days
  • looks red, inflamed or swollen
  • smells unpleasant
  • leaks pus

Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

An ingrown toenail can make every step you take a difficult one. It is caused by the nail growing into the surrounding skin and the big toe is often affected with the nail curling and piercing the skin which becomes red, swollen and tender.

Various things can cause an ingrown toenail, including:

  • badly cut toenails which can encourage the skin to fold over your nail and the nail to grow into the skin
  • wearing tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights
  • sweaty feet
  • injury, such as stubbing your toe
  • the natural shape of the nail
  • a fungal nail infection that makes the toenail thicken or widen.

Symptoms include:

  • pain if pressure is placed on the toe
  • inflammation of the skin at the end of the toe
  • a build-up of fluid in the area surrounding the toe
  • an overgrowth of skin around the affected toe
  • bleeding
  • white or yellow pus coming from the affected area.

Sometimes the problem can be solved by washing your feet regularly, changing your socks regularly, cutting your toenails straight across to stop them digging into the surrounding skin, gently pushing the skin away from the nail using a cotton bud.

However, in some cases surgery is the only solution.

During the operation all or part of the nail is carefully removed and the nail will grow back. Sometimes the underlying nail bed needs to be removed, however, this means the nail will not grow back. It is usually performed as a day-case procedure using local anaesthesia so although you won’t feel anything, you will be awake. Very rarely, the operation is done under general anaesthesia so you will be asleep throughout the procedure and feel no pain.

At Sussex Premier Health, your procedure will be performed by your consultant surgeon.

Our self-pay team will be able to give you a guide price for ingrown toenail surgery.

To speak to a member of our self pay team today, call 01424 757455.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team

Phone01424 757400

Enquiry form

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