Surgical treatment of ingrown toenail without matricectomy

Dermatol Surg. 2008 Jan;34(1):79-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2007.34012.x. Epub 2007 Dec 5.


Background: Partial excision of the nail matrix (matricectomy) is generally considered necessary in the surgical treatment of ingrown toenail. Recurrences may occur, however, and poor cosmetic results are frequently observed.

Objective: The objective is to present a new surgical procedure for ingrown toenail with complete preservation of the nail matrix.

Methods: Twenty-three patients with ingrown toenail were included in this study. The surgical excision was performed 1 week after the completion of treatment of the initial infection. A large volume of soft tissue surrounding the nail plate was removed under local anesthesia. No matrix excision was performed.

Results: Short-term results were excellent. No recurrences or severe complications were observed during the minimum 12-months follow-up period. Cosmetic results were remarkable.

Conclusions: Ingrown toenail results from the compression of the lateral nail folds on the nail plate. This study shows that ingrown toenail can be surgically treated without matricectomy. A large volume of soft tissue surrounding the nail plate should be removed to decompress the nail and reduce inflammation. Cosmetic results are excellent and superior to the classical Emmert plasty. Postoperative nail dystrophies and spicule formation are not observed. The main advantage of this surgical approach is the complete preservation of the anatomy and function of the nail to improve both therapeutic and cosmetic results.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nails / surgery*
  • Nails, Ingrown / surgery*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*