Ingrown Toenail Surgery Cost, Aftercare, Recovery & Complications


Ingrown toenail surgery is a permanent solution for toe nails that grow back. Surgery may be required for severe and/or recurring cases of ingrown toenails. Here are tips for recovery, how to deal with the pain, complications and cost of ingrown toe nail surgery.

Ingrown toenails often heal with simple home treatment using warm water and soap, but if this doesn’t seem to be the case or your toenails get ingrown toenails every now and then, then you may be a candidate for ingrown toenail.

  • How much does toenail surgery cost to remove an ingrown nail?
  • Does it hurt?
  • Ingrown toenail surgery video

    Is Surgery Painful? Talk to your podiatrist in advance.

Is Ingrown Toenail Surgery Painful?

If your podiatrist has recommended surgery to treat your case of ingrown toenail, you may be wondering, is toenail surgery painful? Well as with any surgery, toenail surgery will result in some degree of pain once the anesthetic has worn off. Reports in online forums and discussion boards point to the insertion of the anesthesia needle as the most painful part of the whole process.

Pain is however a relative term and the perceived degree of pain will vary from one individual to another. The degree of pain also varies depending on the type of procedure used and the degree of infection (if any) prior to the surgery.

But as some wise man once said, the end justifies the means and you will have nothing to regret about once that annoying ingrown toenail is gone. After all, the pain might be nothing compared to the pain originally caused by the ingrown toenail itself (especially if it was infected).

Relieving Ingrown Toenail Surgery Pain

It is normal to feel some pain following an ingrown toenail surgery. Painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can however help to relieve ingrown toenail surgery pain. Chances are that your podiatrist will have included some analgesics in the medications s/he gives you after the surgery but they are also available over-the-counter.

It is however worth mentioning at this point that aspirin should not be given to kids aged below 16 years as it has been shown to trigger a fatal but rare disease known as Reye’s syndrome.

Wearing open shoes or sandals can also help to prevent excessive pain since they don’t exert pressure on the healing wound.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Cost

Price is an important factor when considering any treatment option and if you have a painful toenail but no health insurance cover, chances are that the question, “how much does ingrown toenail surgery cost?” is at the back of your mind.

The cost varies widely depending on the type of surgery required, between partial and full nail avulsion. As the names suggest, only a part of the toenail is removed for partial nail avulsion whereas full nail avulsion entails complete removal of the toenail.

The experience and location (yes location) also influences the cost for the surgical removal of ingrown toenails.

We took some time to research the price charged for surgical treatment of problematic toenails and found it to vary between $200 and $500. Some podiatrists give a flat rate fee encompassing both consultation and the surgery, but others quote consultation and the actual surgery separately.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Recovery

Both partial and full nail avulsion procedure are done under local anesthesia and patients are commonly able to go home immediately. The ingrown toenail surgery recovery period however depends on the procedure used.

It is normal to have to go home with a large sterile bandage after the ingrown toenail surgery. This helps to control bleeding and protect the toenail against infection. It is advisable to allow your foot time to rest (avoid walking around too much) and keep it elevated for 1 to 2 days after the procedure. The bandage can be removed after a couple days.

It is also likely that your foot will get sore and tender during the recovery phase. It is also normal to feel some pain but painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help to relieve it (your podiatrist will most likely have included them).

For faster healing process and to avoid complications, it is a great idea to wear open-toed shoes or sandals during the ingrown toe surgery recovery phase.

It is important to follow all the post-surgery guidelines provided by the podiatrist (or surgeon) – and this includes taking all the medications provided – to the letter to avoid infection and ensure faster and “complications-free” wound healing and nail regrowth (in case of full nail avulsion) process.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Aftercare

Proper Ingrown toenail surgery aftercare is important to minimize chances of infections and other related complications and ensure a faster healing process. Below are aftercare measures that you will want to consider as you recover:

You will need proper aftercare to avoid the toenail from recurring.
  • Avoid putting weight on the healing toe
  • Keep your foot elevated especially during the first 2 days
  • Ask your podiatrist when you can safely shower
  • Keep the healing wound clean, dry and properly dressed
  • Wash your hands anytime you have to touch the healing wound
  • Avoid strenuous and sporting activities until the toe has fully healed. This may take 2 weeks or more
  • Dab some of the antibiotic cream (if provided) onto a clean dressing rather than touching it with your finger if you have an infection
  • Follow your doctors instructions – including taking the provided medications – to the letter

If you keenly observe these post-surgery care measures, you are very likely to have healed in 2 to 3 weeks.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Complications

As is to be expected of most surgical procedures, complications often arise after an  the surgery.

Excessive bleeding and swelling is one of the most common complications that may arise.

There is also the risk of infection which often makes the patient return to the podiatrist with symptoms such as more intense pain, swelling, and/or redness or pus drainage. Early treatment with oral antibiotics is usually effective in dealing with cases of post-surgery infection.

For complete removal of nail (full nail avulsion), there is also the risk of the new nail growing laterally if the procedure was not done correctly. This might necessitate a second surgery and explains why you should go for experience surgeons.

Diabetes and problems with blood circulation are some of the factors that heighten the risk of developing complications after a toenail surgery. It is thus critical to let your podiatrist know if you have any of these conditions.