Ingrown toenail removal

Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jun 15;65(12):2547-52, 2554.


Ingrown toenail is a common problem resulting from various etiologies including improperly trimmed nails, hyperhidrosis, and poorly fitting shoes. Patients commonly present with pain in the affected nail but with progression, drainage, infection, and difficulty walking occur. Excision of the lateral nail plate combined with lateral matricectomy is thought to provide the best chance for eradication. The lateral aspect of the nail plate is removed with preservation of the remaining healthy nail plate. Electrocautery ablation is then used to destroy the exposed nail-forming matrix, creating a new lateral nail fold. Complications of the procedure include regrowth of a nail spicule secondary to incomplete matricectomy and postoperative nail bed infection. When performed correctly, the procedure produces the greatest success in the treatment of ingrown nails. Basic soft tissue surgery and electrosurgery experience are prerequisites for learning the technique.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Nails, Ingrown / complications
  • Nails, Ingrown / nursing
  • Nails, Ingrown / surgery*
  • Toes