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The operation to permanently remove all or a portion of the toenail involves chemical cauterization of the nail root area. This chemical burn will produce redness, tenderness, and drainage where the nail was removed for up to six weeks. The redness should not extend beyond the skin wrinkles on the big toe. Once healed, the cauterized portion of the nail should not ever regrow. However, there is about a 5-10% chance that some or all of the nail may regrow.

1) Keep the bandage on for about 12 - 24 hours after the procedure. If it sticks, you can soak the bandage in warm water to remove it.

2) Soak the toe in WARM soapy water or epsom salts for 20 minutes, twice a day for 2-4 weeks or until there is no more drainage. If you see any crusty, clear, yellow fluid, gently clean this away from the wound with a Q-tip or soft cloth.

3) Pat the area dry and apply a small amount of an antibiotic ointment, such as NEOSPORIN, to the area and cover with a regular band-aid after soaking or if the band-aid gets wet.

4) You may shower as normal and apply a fresh band-aid after the shower.

5) You may wear your regular shoes and continue your normal daily activities as long as you are comfortable.

6) DO NOT USE HYDROGEN PEROXIDE ON THE WOUND. It will irritate the healing tissue and cause further damage.


It is normal for the skin just around the nail to be a little red and irritated for the first week or so after the procedure. It is not necessarily infected.

Some signs that your toe may be infected are:

• Redness that spreads up to toe toward the foot.

• Swelling of the entire toe.

• More pain than before the procedure.

• Creamy yellow or greenish pus draining from the wound.

If you think your toe may be infected, please call us immediately at 415-426-7771.