The treatment of ingrowing toenails. A randomised comparison of wedge excision and phenol cauterisation

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1990 May;72(3):507-9. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.72B3.2341458.


We treated 249 patients for ingrowing toenails in a prospective randomised study which compared wedge excision with segmental phenol cauterisation. Follow-up of 97% was at a minimum of 14 months. The analgesic requirement was significantly lower after phenol cauterisation (p less than 0.001), and significantly fewer patients needed to miss school or work (p = 0.001). Recurrence of ingrowth was seen in 16% after wedge excision and 9.6% after phenol cauterisation (not significant), but re-operation was significantly less frequent after phenol (p less than 0.01). Phenol cauterisation gives better short-term and long-term results than wedge resection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cautery / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nails, Ingrown / surgery
  • Nails, Ingrown / therapy*
  • Phenols / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation


  • Phenols