Surgical treatment of nail fungus

Surgical treatment of nail fungus is probably the oldest method of treating this disease. In the past, in the absence of effective antifungal drugs and laser therapy, it was the only method of treatment. The doctor mechanically removed (“peeled off”) the affected nail plate under local anaesthesia. Nowadays, surgical removal of the nail plate is carried out by softening the nail plate itself with certain chemical agents, such as a high concentration of urea ointment. This is believed to reduce the trauma of the procedure as the softened nail is easier to lift and remove.

However, surgical removal of the nail plate is a painful and traumatic procedure. The patient is incapacitated for long periods of time, and has to undergo dressings and shoe adjustments, follow a restrictive regimen and otherwise limit daily activities until the wound heals. After the operation, pain or other physical discomfort is felt for some time.

Complications of surgical treatment of nail fungus:

  • Distal paronychia- inflammation of the nail roller and lateral edges of the nail of infectious origin
  • Shrinkage of the nail bed
  • Distal dislocation of the ingrowing plate

The efficacy of surgical treatment, when not combined with other treatment methods, is only 20%. In addition, even a healthy ingrown nail may have deformities. To increase the effectiveness of the treatment, oral antifungal drugs are usually given after surgery. This shortens the course of medication and has been shown to achieve positive results more quickly and to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of fungal infection. However, compared to more modern treatment methods, even combined surgical treatment does not outperform the effectiveness of medical or laser therapy.

Surgical nail treatment is not indicated for patients with vascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune diseases or bleeding disorders.

Today, surgical treatment of nail fungus is the reserve treatment method and is only used in patients for whom other treatment options (e.g. antifungal drugs) are contraindicated.

To help you recognise if you are suffering from nail fungus, take a look at the pictures of nail fungus in our gallery.

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Edita Zubrickiene


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Consultation with a dermatologist (Edita Zubrickienė)



Repeated consultation of a dermatologist (Edita Zubrickienė)



Inspection (Edita Zubrickienė)



Nail plate removal (1 nail)