A retrospective analysis was undertaken of 387 patients treated surgically for ingrowing toenail between 1987 and 1989. In all, 203 patients were assessed and had 309 procedures performed on the median and/or lateral margins of one or both halluces. The procedures were performed by all grades of surgeon. A total of 126 wedge resections and 183 wedge resection-segmental phenolization combination treatments were performed. There were significantly fewer recurrences in the group receiving combination treatment (eight; 4.4 per cent) than in that having wedge resection alone (22; 17.5 per cent) (P < 0.001). Patients having procedures performed by senior house officers had a significantly greater chance of recurrence if a wedge resection alone was performed. It is concluded that the combination procedure gives better long-term results than wedge resection alone and can be used successfully by all grades of surgeon.