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Toenail/fingernail Removal


You may need to have all or part of your nail removed. Nail removal can prevent infection, decrease ingrown nail pain, and help the nail heal from an injury.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Local anesthesia: This medicine is given as a shot to numb your toe or finger. Local anesthesia is used to make you more comfortable during your procedure, and control your pain.

During your procedure:

  • A tourniquet (tight band) may be tied around the base of your finger or toe, to decrease bleeding. An incision may be made in your skin at the side of your nail. A flat tool is placed under your nail to separate and raise it from your skin. Scissors are then used to cut your nail if only part of it is to be removed. Your nail is then gently pulled out. Any injured tissue on the side of your nail will also be removed. A blue dye may be placed on your finger or toe if your nail matrix will be removed. Your nail matrix is the area that your nail grows from. It is the pale or white color at the base of your nail. Most of the matrix cannot be seen because it lies underneath the skin. The dye helps your caregiver see your nail matrix better.
  • Your caregiver may make an incision in your skin to remove your nail matrix. An electric current, laser beam, or a special chemical may also be used to remove your nail matrix. Your caregiver may put pressure on the area to decrease bleeding. Your incision may be closed with stitches or thin strips of tape. Your nail may be sent to a lab for tests. Medicine to fight germs may be put on your toe or finger before it is covered with a pressure bandage. The bandage will keep your toe or finger clean and may help prevent bleeding.

After your procedure:

You may be taken to a room where you can rest. Your hand or foot may be raised up on pillows for a period of time after your procedure. Do not try to get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK. When your caregiver says it is OK, you will be able to go home. If blue dye was used for your surgery some may remain on your skin. The dye should wash off after a few days or weeks.

  • Td vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.


  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection after your nail is removed. Your toe or finger may become red, swollen, or painful. Fluid or pus may drain from your incision site. Chemicals, lasers, or electrosurgery may burn your skin. If your nail grows back, it may be disfigured, and your symptoms may return.
  • Without treatment, your finger or toe may become painful, swollen, and infected. You may not be able to do your usual activities. It may make it difficult to walk. An infection in your finger or toe may make your nail thick, rough, or change color. The infection may spread to nearby tissue or to bone.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Toenail/fingernail Removal (Inpatient Care)

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