Sodium hydroxide chemical matricectomy for the treatment of ingrown toenails: comparison of three different application periods.

Kocyigit P1, Bostanci S, Ozdemir E, Gürgey E.

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Sodium hydroxide matricectomy is a successful method for the treatment of ingrown toenails. This study was designed to evaluate the optimal sodium hydroxide application period providing high success rates with minimal postoperative morbidity.


Sixty-six patients with 225 ingrown nail edges were treated in three groups receiving 30-second, 1-minute, and 2-minute applications of sodium hydroxide. Each patient was reviewed postoperatively for pain, drainage, and tissue damage. The median long-term follow-up period was 14 months.


The success rate of the therapy was 70.9% in the first group, 92.7% in the second group, and 94.4% in the third group. In all groups, about half of the patients experienced minimal pain within 48 hours following the operation, but only in the third group, 20% of the patients had minimal pain, which continued about 1 week. Drainage and tissue damage were minimal or mild in all groups and disappeared within 3 weeks in the first and second groups but were prolonged to 6 weeks in the third group.


The success rate of 30-second application is significantly lower than 1-minute and 2-minute applications. Although the success rates of the latter two procedures are similar, the prolonged healing time is the disadvantage of the 2-minute application. We conclude that 1-minute application of 10% sodium hydroxide is simple, safe, and highly effective for the treatment of ingrown nails.

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