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When might a toenail need to be surgically removed?

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A toenail may require surgical removal if a fungal nail infection is present, according to WebMD. Another reason for surgical removal is an ingrown toenail, says MedicineNet.

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A fungal nail infection that is severe or recurring may lead to surgical removal of a toenail, explains WebMD; however, the procedure is rare. The doctor may remove the whole toenail or only part of it if one area of the nail has the fungal disease. The surgery can take place in a doctor's office or in a clinic. An injection in the toe area prevents pain during surgery, and a doctor can do a matrixectomy, which destroys the nail matrix to ward off future fungal infections. He puts a chemical on the cuticle after he removes the nail plate. Risks of this surgery include pain, abnormal nail growth and infection.

Surgery may be necessary for an ingrown toenail if other treatments, such as avoiding toenail pressure and administration of antibiotics fail, explains MedicineNet.com. The various surgical approaches include detaching the nail and performing a matrixectomy via chemical, dissection and electrical methods. People who have diabetes or immune system issues should seek treatment as soon as possible when they notice ingrown toenails. Signs of infected ingrown toenails include swelling, colored drainage and drainage with pus. In most cases, a doctor prescribes home treatments and moves on to podiatric medical treatments if necessary.

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