Understanding Partial Nail Avulsion: When and Why Podiatrists Recommend Excision

Did your podiatrist recommend a partial nail avulsion for you? It is a minor surgical procedure used to prevent ingrown toenails from recurring. However, while it’s a safe surgical procedure it is not for everyone. Learn when you need a partial nail avulsion and the risks involved with this procedure in this article.


When do you need a partial nail avulsion?

Partial nail avulsion is used for an ingrown toenail to prevent it from recurring. Ingrown toenails are a common nail problem that occurs when your nail grows into the skin at the side of the nail which causes pain or injury. This can puncture your skin, may cause inflammation, and increase the risk of infection. Ingrown toenails may be caused by many factors such as:

  • Genetic causes
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Fungal nail infection
  • Incorrect nail trimming technique
  • Injury or trauma


During its early stages, it may not need surgery. However, when an ingrown toenail reaches the moderate to severe stages, you need surgical intervention to prevent the recurrence of an ingrown toenail. That’s why either partial or full nail avulsion is used.


Partial nail avulsion is a minor surgical procedure to remove a portion of the nail along with its underlying tissue. A chemical is applied to your nail root during the procedure to prevent the affected portion of the nail from growing again. This process is done with a local anesthetic and recovery is generally fast. Many people only experience almost no or minimal discomfort after the procedure.



Before the procedure, your healthcare provider may recommend avoiding eating or drinking anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. They even recommend avoiding it on the day of your surgery and you also need someone who can drive you home and stay with you.


During the procedure, the healthcare provider may follow these steps:

  • First, they give you local anesthesia around the nail to numb the affected area and cut the nail along the edge that’s growing towards the skin. Then, the nail will be removed from your toe or finger.
  • Your podiatrist then applies a solution or a small electric charge to the nail bed which prevents the nail from growing into your skin again.
  • In some cases, your healthcare provider gives a matricectomy to the nail matrix which is destroyed during the process of stopping the nail from growing. The nail matrix is the area where your nail grows. It looks pale or white at the base of your nail. Most matrices are not visible because they are underneath the skin. However, chemicals, lasers, or instruments may destroy the nail matrix.


After the procedure, your healthcare provider may put an antibiotic ointment and bandage on your toe or finger and check it again within 24 hours after your procedure. You may get yellowish drainage for 2 to 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) after your procedure until it recovers.


Precautions and risks

While this procedure doesn’t involve any cutting or stitching it does have some risks, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Ingrown nails may occur again.
  • Surrounding tissue may get damaged during the procedure.
  • Leave a scar or your nail may look disfigured.
  • Take a longer time to heal.
  • Develop a cyst.


This surgery is not for everyone, people with diabetes foot complications, poor wound healing, bleeding disorders, or poor circulation to the foot should avoid this surgery because it may lead to complications.


Recovery time

Recovery time varies between individuals. For healthy individuals, it may take between 2 to 4 weeks. However, for the elderly and people with underlying health problems, it may take longer than expected.


Your podiatrist before recommending ingrown toenail surgery will assess your general health to make sure you are eligible for the surgery (or not).


Partial nail avulsion is recommended by your podiatrist when your ingrown toenails are at a moderate to severe stage causing severe pain or inflammation and have a high risk of infection without symptoms. This method is safe for healthy individuals and exceptionally minimal risk. However, for elders and people with health problems, it is used when they pass the assessment test to show that they are eligible for this procedure.


If you want to know whether you are eligible for this surgery or not, visit our podiatry clinic in Brooklyn and take an assessment test. Remove the toe pain from your life and visit our podiatrists for the best treatment for your foot problems. For more tips on healthy feet, or if you need help with finding a good podiatrist, Doral Health & Wellness employs Podiatrists with extensive education and expertise. Trauma to the tendons, muscles, and bones of the foot is quite common. It’s not a good idea to put off seeing a Foot Doctor Brooklyn until you’re in a lot of pain. Our address is 1797 Pitkin Avenue, New York, NY 11212. To make an appointment, please call +1-347-384-5690 or send an email to info@podiatristsbrooklyn.com.