Nail removal sounds like a painful procedure, but it’s not. At JW Family Medicine in Fulshear, Texas, we perform several nail removals each month. There’s no single indication for nail removal. A variety of things can lead to nail damage so severe that the only possible treatment is nail removal.
We have concerned patients at JW Family Medicine who ask us whether or not their nails will grow back after removal. The answer is yes. As long as the nail bed is still in place, the toe will always grow back. It might take some time for it to reach its full size, though.
One of the most common indications of nail removal is an ingrown toenail. An ingrown toenail is when the nail starts to go into the skin, causing irritation, hardening, pain, and fluid collection. There are medical treatments available for ingrown toenails, but they’re not as affected as removal and are associated with higher recurrence.
There are other indications for removing a nail. These include severe fungal infections. The only way to eliminate the infection would be to remove the nail. Chronic bacterial infections and fluid build-up will also require nail removal to evacuate the pus and fluid that accumulated over time.
The removal of a nail isn’t as painful as it might seem. The first step we perform at JW Family Medicine is to numb the affected finger using local anesthesia. This guarantees that the procedure is pain-free. There are two types of nail removal: partial and total.
In a partial nail removal, we’ll cut part of the nail and remove it. In a total removal, we’ll have to remove the entire nail. Partial removals are often done in those with ingrown nails. After the affected part is removed, a piece of cotton is placed between the nail and the adjacent skin to prevent a recurrence. Partial nail removal is very effective at treating the problem and preventing a recurrence.
We don’t always rush to nail removal. If a condition might resolve medically, we’ll try that first. Sometimes, however, nail removal is the best and only option.