What Is a Matrixectomy? Do I Need One?

Why Would I Need a Matrixectomy?

Do you consistently get ingrown toenails? Or maybe you have an ingrown toenail that lingers and won’t seem to go away. Ingrown toenails can be painful and keep you from enjoying your daily activities.

Ingrown toenails can happen to anyone at any age. They can result from incorrect toenail trimming, injury to the nail, shoes that don’t fit correctly, and toenails that are naturally more curved than others.

Ingrowns can range from a mild inconvenience to something much more painful. Problems arise when an ingrown toenail becomes infected. It is vital to see your podiatrist after noticing an ingrown toenail if you have circulatory issues or are a diabetic.  

If you want to learn more about ingrown toenails, take a look at our blog, which goes into more detail about the causes of ingrowns and how to prevent and treat them.

For pesky ingrown toenails that repeatedly come back or for those that don’t respond to conservative treatment or a nail avulsion, a matrixectomy may be the answer.

So, What’s a Matrixectomy?

A matrixectomy is a permanent solution to an ingrown toenail that has a high success rate. During the minimally invasive outpatient procedure, a podiatrist will remove the problem portion of your toenail. This will be the portion of your toenail that is growing downwards or inwards and is piercing the skin of your toes and causing your painful symptoms.

To prevent that portion of the nail from growing back, the nail matrix, or base of the nail, is treated with either surgical methods, a laser, or a chemical solution that scars the matrix and makes sure that portion of the nail does not grow back again.

This simple procedure will typically leave you with a slightly narrower toenail, but a toenail that usually still looks “normal” after the procedure and hopefully won’t become ingrown again.

What Should I Expect When Having a Matrixectomy?

If you have a matrixectomy scheduled, there’s no need to worry or stress about the procedure. It’s a straightforward and common procedure. Any questions you have can be answered by your podiatrist.

Here are a few things you should expect during a matrixectomy.

  • A matrixectomy is an outpatient procedure done in the clinic.
  • Your toe will be cleaned and prepped for the procedure.
  • A matrixectomy is performed under local anesthetic.
  • Some sort of constricting band is placed around your toe to limit blood flow to the area during the quick procedure. 
  • Your podiatrist will gently lift the ingrown portion of the toe out from under the skin and then cut and remove that problematic portion of the nail.
  • Your podiatrist will then treat the nail bed so that portion of the nail does not grow back again.
  • The procedure itself is quick, and your total appointment time will usually not exceed 45 minutes.
  • You do not need a special boot or brace while your toe is healing.
  • Most people don’t need to take any additional time off work or school to heal from the procedure.
  • Your toe will usually heal within a couple of weeks of having the procedure.
  • Once the local anesthetic wears off, you may experience a small throbbing pain or discomfort that can last for a couple of days. This can be remedied with the use of over-the-counter pain relief medications.
  • You will most likely experience some tenderness after a matrixectomy.
  • Make sure to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your podiatrist.

The procedure is 95% effective at ensuring the nail, or partial portion of the nail, is permanently removed. But sometimes, the nail does grow back, and this can cause pain. If this does happen, the procedure can be done again and is usually effective the second time around at ensuring the nail does not regrow.

Are You Looking for a Podiatrist in the Missoula, MT Area?

Podiatrists specialize in foot and ankle conditions and have more experience dealing with ingrown toenails than any other healthcare professional. Whether you’re suffering from an ingrown toenail, bunions, plantar fasciitis, or general foot pain, our podiatrists at Western Montana Foot and Ankle can help. With offices in Missoula and Hamilton and an additional outreach clinic in Plains, you shouldn’t let traveling concerns keep you from getting the help you need for a variety of foot and ankle conditions. 

If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, call our Missoula office at 406.543.5333 or our Hamilton office at 406.363.7289.