Nail Surgery


At Ingrown Toenail Clinics Australia, we use minimally invasive surgical techniques that have been shown to achieve a permanent resolution of ingrown toenails in up to 98.5% of cases. Toenail Surgery is recommended when an ingrown toenail repeatedly becomes painful or infected, and when other conservative treatments have proved unsuccessful. The most common procedure we perform, a Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA), involves the painless removal of the offending portion of the nail. In most cases, a chemical (phenol) is used to help with preventing regrowth of the removed section of nail.

Recommended for:

  • Ingrown toenails
  • Deformed toenails
  • Involuted/curled toenails
  • Wide or flat toenails
  • Re-occurring infections
  • When toenail bracing isn't suitable

Benefits at a glance:

  • Quick and effective (98.5% success rate*)
  • Option of needle-free local anaesthetic prior to injection.
  • Fast recovery & minimal discomfort following the procedure.
  • No need for ongoing appointments once successfully removed


Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA)

A minimally invasive surgical technique that permanently removes one or both sides of the affected nail. You are left with a slightly narrower nail, without the ingrown section.

Total Nail Avulsion (TNA)

In rare cases, it may be recommended that the entire nail be removed - this is called a total nail avulsion and is usually reserved for significantly deformed or problematic nails.

What's Involved?

A simple in-clinic procedure that is performed under local anaesthetic. It takes around 20 minutes per toe and you can walk straight out of the clinic afterwards.

Total Nail Avulsion (TNA)

In rare cases, it may be recommended that the entire nail be removed - this is called a total nail avulsion and is usually reserved for significantly deformed or problematic nails.


Prior to recommending surgery, your podiatrist will conduct an assessment of your ingrown toenail condition and discuss any factors that may affect the suitability of surgery. For the vast majority of those suffering from an ingrown toenail condition, toenail surgery is a safe, quick and painless procedure. The steps involved during a Partial Nail Avulsion with chemical albation of the nail matrix are displayed below.
Click the numbers to see more information










Step 1

A chronic ingrown toenail condition that would benefit from nail surgery is identified. Ouch!

Step 2

Two injections of local anaesthetic are given to numb the toe prior to surgery. For your comfort, we offer the Comfort-in needle-free system to numb the skin prior to injection.

Step 3

Once the toe is numb, an elastic ring called a tourniquet is placed around the base of the toe to control any bleeding. The toe is prepped with an antiseptic and a small flat tool is used to separate the section of nail that is to be removed from the nail bed.

Step 4

Specialised clippers are used to make the initial cut that will isolate the segment of nail to be removed and determine the new width of the nail – the exact location of this cut will be discussed prior to surgery.

Step 5

A very thin bladed tool is used to finish the cut started by the clippers. The tool can finish cutting the nail to the base (under the skin) without the need for any skin incisions.

Step 6

Forceps are used to remove the problematic section of nail. The base of the nail section is checked to make sure the matrix has been removed – this is an important step in the prevention of regrowth.

Step 7

A chemical called phenol is used to help in the prevention of nail regrowth. Phenol also helps minimise any post-operative discomfort. After each application of phenol, we apply a saline flush to clear any debris and remaining phenol from the surgical site.

Step 8

The tourniquet is removed and a sterile surgical dressing is applied to the toe. The toe needs to be re-dressed until it has completely healed.

Step 9

Once healed, you're left with a slightly narrower nail that no longer causes you any pain or discomfort.

Following the procedure

  • You’re able to walk immediately afterwards.
  • Open toe shoes/sandals or thongs are recommended so there’s no pressure on the surgical site following the procedure.
  • We recommend you don't drive for 12 hours following administration of the local anaesthetic. Ideally, make arrangements for getting a lift home from the Sydney Ingrown toenail clinic with someone following the procedure.
  • Go directly home following the procedure and rest with your leg elevated for the remainder of the day.
  • Excessive walking (e.g. walking for exercise) is discouraged in the first 3-6 days postoperatively. Please discuss with your podiatrist your individual return to sport/exercise recommendations.
  • Tight fitting sports or dress shoes are discouraged in the first 3-4 weeks following the procedure.

Post-operative reviews

  • You will be advised to return for 1-2 appointments in the 2 weeks following the procedure for review, cleaning of the toe and re-dressings.
  • Following the final re-dressing, you can care for the toe at home until it has completely healed. We will show you how to re-dress the toe yourself.
  • A final check will be recommended at 10-12 weeks post-operatively.

Nail Surgery FAQ

Is ingrown toenail surgery painful ?
Ingrown toenail surgery is performed under local anaesthetic making the procedure 100% pain-free. For those that would like the injection of local anaesthetic to be pain-free, we offer the use of Comfort-in to numb the skin prior to injection.
Will there be much pain after ingrown toenail surgery?
The minimally invasive nature of a Partial Nail Avulsion combined with the use of phenol (known as an analgesic) allows for a minimum of pain or discomfort following the procedure. You will be given specific post-operative instructions that will help minimise any discomfort that you may encounter after the local anaesthetic wears off.
Is ingrown toenail surgery safe?
The most common procedure we perform is called a Partial Nail Avulsion. This minimally invasive procedure requires no skin incisions or stitches and is suitable and safe for almost everyone.
How will my toenail look after ingrown toenail surgery?
Once healed, a successful Partial Nail Avulsion will leave you with a slightly narrower toenail. Most of the toenail removed is hidden under the skin, so the visible change in nail width doesn't change greatly. Rarely, in more severe cases, where the nail is extremely thickened or has other complications, the whole toenail may be removed via a Total Nail Avulsion.
How long does ingrown toenail surgery take to perform?
It generally takes up to 45 minutes to perform a partial or total nail avulsion. If there are multiple toes being treated, it may take longer. Specifics on estimated time should be discussed with you podiatrist after assessing the toe/s.
When can I go back to work following ingrown toenail surgery?
Usually within 2-3 days. Sometimes sooner, depending on the job and footwear requirements.
When can I get back to playing sport following ingrown toenail surgery?
In 2-4 weeks depending on the sport and the shoes worn. You can discuss the estimated time off with your podiatrist beforehand.
When can I wear narrow or pointed shoes again?
You will need to wait until the toe is completely healed following ingrown toenail surgery. This can take 3-6 weeks. You can get more specific estimated time frame after your podiatrist has assessed your toe.
Can I drive after ingrown toenail surgery?
For your safety, we recommend that you make arrangements for someone to drive you home following the procedure. Driving is not advisable for up to 12 hours post-operatively due to the use of local anaesthetics.
When is toenail surgery a better option than toenail bracing?
Ingrown toenail surgery is best for certain types of nails (e.g. flat wide nails) and when wanting a fast result that will allow resumption of sports where kicking or tight fitting boots/shoes are worn. It's also more practical for those wanting to wear high heels or shoes with a pointed/narrow toe box - something you can't wear while undergoing nail bracing treatment.
I have diabetes, is ingrown toenail surgery suitable?
In most cases, yes. However, some patients with diabetes may be at higher risk for post-operative infection and delayed healing. Prior to recommending surgery, we will assess your situation and advise on the safest treatment option.
What are potential complications and what can go wrong with ingrown toenail surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved. A Partial Nail Avulsion procedure is associated with a low rate of complication and is known to be very safe and effective. The most common side-effects are post-operative infection in the short term and the possibility of regrowth of the nail over time.
Does my private health fund cover ingrown toenail surgery costs?
Most health funds provide rebates for ingrown toenail surgery - check with your fund if you're covered. We have HICAPS facilities so are able to offer on-the-spot rebates.
Can my toenail grow back after having ingrown toenail surgery?
The Partial Nail Avulsion procedure used at Ingrown Toenail Clinics Australia has been shown to have a very low rate of nail regrowth of the removed portion of nail. Generally there is a 1.5/100 chance of nail regrowth. In the case of regrowth, revision surgery can provide relief in many instances.
Does Medicare cover ingrown toenail surgery costs?
If you qualify for an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program arranged by your GP, a portion of the associated costs may be covered by Medicare (up to a maximum of $264.75 per year). Please contact your GP to discuss eligibility for this program.
If I'm pregnant or breastfeeding can I still have ingrown toenail surgery?
It's generally not advisable however in some cases the benefits can outweigh the risks. For example, while breastfeeding the risks are relatively low, while the benefits of removing an ingrown toenail (especially when infected) can be significant.
How much does ingrown toenail surgery cost?
Partial Nail Avulsion: $450
- $70 per additional side of the same toe
- $200 per additional toe

Total Nail Avulsion: $500
- $200 per additional toe
Post-operative reviews & re-dressings: $75 (includes take-home dressings)

The use of our Comfort-in Needle-free system is offered at no additional cost for those undergoing ingrown toenail surgery
Who can perform ingrown toenail surgery?

In Australia, GP's surgeons and Podiatrists regularly perform ingrown toenail surgery. Podiatrists have specialised training in the use of local anaesthetic and minimally invasive toenail surgery. If you are suffering with an ingrown toenail, our Surry Hills Podiatrist has the skills and experience to give you the best possible care.

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