A comparison between CO2 laser surgery with and without lateral fold vaporization for ingrowing toenails

J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2007 Jun;9(2):97-100. doi: 10.1080/14764170701275149.


Background: An ingrowing toenail is an excessive lateral nail growth into the nail fold. It acts as a foreign body and exerts a local pressure sore-like effect, which may result in inflammation and granulation. Several treatment modalities exist, including chemical ablation and different surgical procedures. Here we describe and compare a simple and effective method of partial matricectomy using the CO2 laser (group A) versus a similar method with the addition of lateral nail fold vaporization (group B).

Objective: Outcome evaluation of a modified laser treatment modality for ingrowing toenails and determination of the role of lateral fold vaporization in reducing the recurrence of symptoms.

Methods: Forty patients (mean age 32.45 years) were treated with CO2 laser ablation of toenails between 1999 and 2005 by four physicians. One physician implemented a method that includes lateral nail fold vaporization and resection of the nail segment with its nail bed from 1999 to 2005. Three physicians implemented a similar technique but without lateral fold vaporization between 1999 and 2003, and added lateral fold vaporization to the performed procedure starting in 2004.

Results: The recurrence rate was 37.5% in group A and 6.2% in group B. The overall average disease-free follow-up period was 42.2 months.

Conclusion: The use of CO2 laser in the treatment of ingrowing toenails offers an effective modality. We demonstrate the importance of lateral fold vaporization with the CO2 laser both in improving efficacy and in decreasing recurrence rates over a long follow-up period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Dioxide*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Nails, Ingrown / prevention & control
  • Nails, Ingrown / surgery*
  • Recurrence


  • Carbon Dioxide