Chemical matricectomy with phenol for the treatment of ingrowing toenail: a review of the literature and follow-up of 172 treated patients

Acta Derm Venereol. 2001 Jun-Jul;81(3):181-3. doi: 10.1080/000155501750376267.


There are many options for the treatment of ingrowing toenail, ranging from simple conservative approaches to extensive surgical procedures. Although conservative treatment modalities are helpful in patients with stage 1 disease, stage 2 and 3 ingrowing toenails are best treated surgically. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of chemical matricectomy with phenol for the treatment of ingrowing toenail. A total of 350 phenol ablations were performed on 172 patients with stage 2 and 3 disease. Each patient was reviewed weekly until full wound healing was achieved and afterwards, to assess the long-term efficacy of the treatment, they were followed up for a mean period of 25 months. The healing period after the operation ranged from 2 to 4 weeks and no postoperative complications were seen. Only two recurrences (0.57%) were observed, after 9 and 17 months, respectively, and nail spikes had developed in only two toes (0.57%). The success rate was found to be 98.8%. We conclude that phenol cauterization is an excellent surgical method for the treatment of ingrowing toenail because of its simplicity, low morbidity and high success rate.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cautery
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nails, Ingrown / surgery*
  • Phenol / therapeutic use*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Phenol