WellSpan Home

Nonsurgical Nail Removal for Fungal Nail Infections

Treatment Overview

Nonsurgical (chemical) nail removal is a painless procedure for a fungal nail infection. This technique removes only the diseased and damaged nail, not the healthy part of the nail. It is done in a clinic or your doctor's office. Either the entire nail (avulsion) or part of the nail (debridement) can be removed. This procedure is almost always painless.

Your doctor will first place cloth adhesive tape on the normal skin around the infected nail. A urea ointment is then put directly on the nail surface and covered with plastic and tape. The ointment softens the nail over the next 7 to 10 days. You must keep the nail and dressing dry during this time.

After the nail softens, your doctor removes the treated nail by lifting the nail away from the nail bed or by cutting out the diseased portion of the nail.

What To Expect

The area exposed by the nail removal should be kept clean. You may cover the area with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed. It should heal within 2 weeks.

Fingernails may take 6 months to grow back, and toenails may take 12 to 18 months to grow back.

Why It Is Done

Nonsurgical nail removal can be used for severe antifungal infections and on nails that have increased in size due to abnormal growth (hypertrophic). It is rarely necessary.

How Well It Works

After the diseased and dead tissue has been removed, the infection can be further treated by applying an antifungal cream to the remaining infected area or by taking oral antifungal medicine.

Risks

After nail removal, the wound can become infected. You can reduce the risk of infection by keeping the area clean.

The fungal infection may not be killed and may infect the new nail that grows.

What To Think About

Nail removal makes it possible to apply an antifungal cream directly to the infected area, increasing the likelihood that the infection can be cured.

This procedure offers a good chance of cure for severe nail infections.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Ellen K. Roh, MD - Dermatology

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×