An onychectomy is a surgical procedure in which part or all of a fingernail or toenail is removed. It is often performed on the big toe to help ward off ingrown toenail infections and recurrences of the painful condition, and it is sometimes used as a method against severe onychomycosis (toenail fungus). It is also the medical term for the declawing of animals (typically cats).
The most common type of human onychectomy is a wedge resection, which involves cutting out part of all of an ingrown toenail. The surgery is non-permanent, meaning the nail will regrow from the matrix unless phenol is applied. Post-operative care often consists of mild pain killers, antibiotic ointment, special foot soaks and/or AmeriGel (an ointment that creates a moist healing environment). If a patient follows post-surgery instructions and keeps the area clean, wedge resection has a success rate of almost 100 percent with no regrowth of an ingrown problem.