Nail surgery might not be the first course of action when it comes to treating nail issues, but it is sometimes necessary when topical solutions and medication don’t work or aren’t a viable solution. This highly specialized surgery is performed to remove a section of or the whole nail as a result of a disorder, ingrown nails, a cyst, injury, fungus or malignant tumors.
The type of nail surgery required depends on the diagnosis. Nail biopsies are conducted to detect skin cancer, nail plate removals are done to identify and treat fungus and Mohs surgery can be performed to remove cancerous tumors. Regardless, they are all out-patients procedures that use local anesthesia to numb the area before avulsion.
The most common skin cancer variant found in the nail matrix is squamous cell carcinoma, which is associated with the wart virus. In non-invasive cases, Mohs micrographic surgery is the best treatment option and can prevent the need for amputation.
Nail Surgery: What to Expect
After surgery, a bandage is applied to the area to keep it protected. Patients who have a whole nail plate removed might experience tenderness for about a week.
While in many cases a removed nail plate will grow back healthier than its predecessor, there is a chance of deformity. This, however, is usually minor and temporary. It can take between six and nine months for a nail to grow back after nail surgery, after which it should be fully restored.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms or changes in your nails, please make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
- Dark streak
- Pitted nails
- Lifting nail
- Thickening of nails
- Unexplained discoloration
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