Why have Nail Surgery?

Nails can be windows into our health.  Do your nails have white or dark spots?  Do they have ridges?  Are they curved?  There are a lot of conditions which can be manifested on the fingernails or toenails, and while not always serious, some of these may require surgery to correct.  Here are some common nail conditions that may require intervention:

·        Dark Spots or Streaks – Most spots and streaks on the nails will be completely harmless.  However, this may also be a manifestation of skin cancer.  Fortunately, when caught and treated early, most skin cancers are curable, so a biopsy should be considered for a new nail lesion.

·        Growths – Growths underneath or surrounding a nail can be another indication of skin cancers such as melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma.  More commonly, growths surrounding the nail area are warts.  These do not pose a health risk but patients may find them embarrassing or even notice that they restrict their ability to fully use the affected finger or toe.

·        Cysts – Jelly-like cysts may develop on the skin above the nail’s cuticle area.  If left untreated these cysts can continue to cause pain and may even result in damage or deformation to the nail itself.

·        Fungal Infection – A thickening, discolored nail that splits or lifts away from the nailbed is a sign of a fungal infection.  If caught in the early stages, the fungus may respond well to treatments such as creams, lotions, or lacquers.  Others may require oral medication, and in some cases laser treatment may even be used.

·        Bacterial Infection – If a nail is red, swollen, or causing pain, it may be due to a bacterial infection.  This typically occurs if the nail or surrounding area has recently been injured.  These infections should not be left untreated.  In order for the nail to heal, the pus must be drained and antibiotics used to prevent re-infection.

·        Ingrown Nail – Occasionally, a nail can curve downward and grow into the skin.  This occurs most frequently on the big toe.  There are several factors that can contribute to the condition such as poor nail grooming habits, tight shoes, and even genetics.  Surgical treatment of the nail is typically required to relieve pain and prevent infection.

Learn More

Nail surgery differs from case-to-case, taking into consideration both the patient and the specific condition.  If you have a bothersome nail condition and would like to determine its exact cause and ideal treatment method, contact our Baton Rouge dermatology office or Lafayette dermatology office to schedule a consultation and treatment.