If you are considering having ingrown toenail surgery, there are a few questions that you should ask to ensure that you are getting the best treatment available.
- What training have you undertaken for this procedure? The amount of training varies between professions. Podiatrists undertake extensive university and on-job training on nail surgery including correct injection techniques nail removal, phenolisation and wound dressing.
- How many surgeries have you undertaken and how often? Like everything, some surgeons have more experience than others. Some surgeons will do multiple surgeries a week whilst others can go months or even years without performing a surgery.
- What redressing and follow-up care do you provide? Some doctors/podiatrists will do the surgery and discharge you for self-care. We will certainly NOT do this. We follow our patients very closely with 2 to 3 redressing appointments in the first 2 weeks, then a 3-month check and a 6-month check.
- Which technique do you perform and do you use phenol? Some clinics do partial nail avulsions (PNA’s) whilst others do wedge resections/winograd procedures. Some clinics also use phenol to cauterize the nail root as a secondary measure to reduce re-growth. Cochrane database for gold standard medical techniques suggests that surgery with phenolisation was significantly more effective in preventing recurrence than the surgical intervention alone. 
- What is your regrowth rate? This is an important question because different procedures, surgeons and clinics have differing results. We keep a close eye on our statistics at our 3 and 6-month checks as this is the only way to know accurate regrowth rates. Without these checks, it’s impossible to know if the nail did regrow. We often have to cut back the old nail at the 3 and 6-month checks to ensure the new nail coming through can grow correctly. Keeping a close eye on the nail as it grows out over the first 6 months is vital in the success of the surgery.
 Eekhof JAH, Van Wijk B, Knuistingh Neven A, van der Wouden JC. Interventions for ingrowing toenails. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD001541. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001541.pub3.
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Written by Simon Hrobelko for CANBERRA INGROWN TOENAIL CLINIC.