Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 314-318
Comparative efficacy of 10% sodium hydroxide, 88% phenol, and 90% trichloroacetic acid as chemical cauterants for partial matricectomy in the management of great toe nail onychocryptosis


Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication26-Nov-2020
 

   Abstract 

Context: Lateral plate avulsion with chemical matricectomy is the treatment of choice for ingrown toenails. Phenol is the most widely used cauterant, followed by 10% NaOH and more recently trichloroacetic acid. Aims: To evaluate the efficacy of 10% NaOH, 88% Phenol, and 90% TCA in cauterizing the matrix with regular follow up post surgery and clinical photographs. Materials and Methods: Fifteen adult patients presenting with ingrowing toe nails were recruited to the study with prior consent. The NaOH group (Group A) had five patients and five nails treated, the phenol group (Group B) had five patients and six nails treated, and the TCA group (Group C) had five patients and six nails treated. A total of 17 great toe nails were treated. Following proximal digital block and partial nail avulsion, the matrix was curetted and the lateral horn cauterized with 10% NaOH (1 min), 88% phenol (3 min), and 90% TCA (3 min). Post-procedure follow-up was done at weekly intervals to evaluate post-operative pain, oozing, and wound healing. Statistical Analysis Used: Graph pad prism software was used for statistical analysis. ANOVA tests were used to test the statistical significance between post-operative parameters of each group. Results: Mean duration of post-op pain in Group A was 4.2 days; Group B was 8.6 days, and Group C was 1.2 days. Oozing occurred for a mean duration of 10.6 days in Group A, 14 days in Group B, and 5.6 days in Group C. Mean duration of tissue re-epithelization was 28.4 days in Group A, 40.5 days in Group B, and 27.4 days in Group C. Conclusions: TCA is an effective cauterant for chemical matricectomy with the advantage of less duration of post-op pain and faster healing.

Keywords: Chemical matricectomy, onychocryptosis/ingrown toe nail, phenol, sodium hydroxide, trichloro acetic acid

How to cite this article:
Ramesh S, Shenoi SD, Nayak SU. Comparative efficacy of 10% sodium hydroxide, 88% phenol, and 90% trichloroacetic acid as chemical cauterants for partial matricectomy in the management of great toe nail onychocryptosis. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 2020;13:314-8

How to cite this URL:
Ramesh S, Shenoi SD, Nayak SU. Comparative efficacy of 10% sodium hydroxide, 88% phenol, and 90% trichloroacetic acid as chemical cauterants for partial matricectomy in the management of great toe nail onychocryptosis. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];13:314-8. Available from: https://www.jcasonline.com/text.asp?2020/13/4/314/301496





   Introduction Top


Onychocryptosis/Ingrown toe nail is a painful condition that affects the great toe nails mainly in younger individuals and accounts for missed hours from work school, social, and sports activities. It is thus a cause of great morbidity. A significant number of cases thus require surgical correction. A simple nail avulsion will obviously cause recurrence and hence lateral plate avulsion with matricectomy provides definite cure for ingrowing nails. There are various modalities through which the lateral horn of the matrix can be destroyed such as chemical, electrosurgical, carbon dioxide lasers, and cryotherapy. An ideal surgical procedure is the one which is efficacious, associated with less post-operative morbidity and an early return to work.[1] Lateral plate avulsion with chemical matricectomy is one which fulfills all the above criteria and is efficacious.[2] 88% phenol has been used for more than five decades and is an effective cauterant but is associated with prolonged post-operative drainage.[3] 10% sodium hydroxide, however, is an alkali and has been used as a cauterant for more than a decade now and is equally efficacious as phenol, but comes with a side effect of intense pain in the initial post-operative days.[3] The most recent cauterant is 80–100% trichloroacetic acid which is equally efficacious as phenol.[4],[5],[6]

Objectives

The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the three different cauterants 10% NaOH, 88% phenol, and 90% trichloroacetic acid in the management of ingrown nails and to compare the duration of post-operative pain, drainage, and time taken for wound healing with regular follow up of patients.


   Subjects and Methods Top


A total of 15 patients with ingrown nails of the great toe were treated with lateral plate avulsion with chemical matricectomy, five each with 10% NaOH, 88% phenol, and 90% trichloroacetic acid, respectively, with prior consent. Institute ethical committee clearance was obtained before starting the study. Adult patients above the age of 18 years were recruited into the study. The severity [Figure 1] was grading using the Heifitz grading of ingrown nails.[7]
Figure 1: Stage 1—ingrown nail with mild erythema and edema of nail folds; Stage 2—acute inflammation and suppuration; Stage 3—hypertrophy of nail folds with drainage and granulation tissue

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After informed consent, the patients underwent nail surgery which involved proximal digital anesthesia with 2% plain lignocaine followed by exsanguination of the affected great toe and separation of nail plate at the affected side from nail bed, splitting of the lateral nail plate and avulsion. This was followed by curettage of the lateral horns of the matrix and application of the cauterants. 10% NaOH was applied for a period of 1 min, 88% Phenol for 3 min, and 90% TCA was applied for 3 min. [Figure 2] shows the surgical procedure followed. Post application of cauterants, the tourniquet was removed and a bulky dressing with antiseptic ointment was applied to the great toe and the patients were advised to rest for 24h. Oral antibiotics were given for a period of 5 days and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for 2 days. Foot end elevation was advised.
Figure 2: Different steps in nail surgery

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Dressing was changed on post-operative day 2. They were followed up at weekly intervals for 2 weeks and monthly thereafter and assessed for post-operative pain (using the visual analog scale) and wound drainage and healing. Clinical photographs were taken at each visit.

Statistical analysis

A P-value of <0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. One-way ANOVA test (analysis of variance) was used to test the significance of difference between the post-operative parameters of pain, oozing, and wound healing in the different groups.


   Results Top


Fifteen patients of the age 18 and above with ingrown toe nails were recruited in the study and underwent lateral plate avulsion with chemical matricectomy. They were allocated into three groups based on the cauterant used, which were 10% Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), 88% phenol, and 90% trichloroacetic acid. The number of patients in each group was 5. They were followed up at weekly intervals for 2 weeks and monthly thereafter and assessed for pain, oozing, and wound healing time. [Figure 3],[Figure 4],[Figure 5] show pre-op and post-op results following chemical matricectomy with each of the three different chemicals. [Table 1] shows the patient parameters and [Table 2] shows post-operative parameters.
Figure 3: Pre- and post-operative results following TCA matricectomy

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Figure 4: Pre- and post-operative results following NaOH matricectomy

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Figure 5: Pre- and post-operative results following Phenol matricectomy

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Table 1: Patient parameters

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Table 2: Post-operative assessment

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There was significant statistical difference in post-operative parameters in the three different groups, on using the one-way ANOVA tests.

Tukey’s honest significant difference test revealed that there was significant difference (F ratio: 7.116438; P-value: 0.0072) between phenol group and TCA group in post pain, while there was statistically significant difference in post-operative oozing between phenol group and TCA group (F ratio: 8.4; P-value: 0.0082). There was a significant difference in wound healing between NaOH group and phenol group (F ratio: 12.4; P-value: 0.0089) and the phenol group and TCA group (F ratio: 13.4 and P-value: 0.0053).

Post-operative assessment of the patients who underwent lateral plate avulsion with chemical matricectomy revealed that 90% TCA was associated with lesser post-operative pain, discharge, and faster wound re-epithelization followed by sodium hydroxide and phenol.

All the participants were satisfied with the outcome with no recurrence at 1 year follow up.


   Discussion Top


Phenol is an age old cauterant for the treatment of ingrown nails/onychocryptosis since more than half a decade. It has an added anesthetic effect as well. Bostanci et al.[8] in their retrospective study of 172 patients proved the success rate of phenol cauterization to be 98.8%. An ideal surgery should be easy to perform under local anesthesia, should be associated with lesser post-operative morbidity and faster healing.Our observations in the patients treated with 88% phenol in our study revealed a mean duration of 8.6 days of post-operative pain and 14 days of post-operative discharge, highest in comparison with NaOH and TCA. Phenol does come with disadvantages such as chemical burns and excessive post-operative damage.[9] Sodium hydroxide has been used as a cauterant since more than a decade now and acts by liquefactive necrosis and destroys the matrix.[3],[10] There are various comparative studies comparing the efficacy of Sodium hydroxide and Phenol which have concluded that sodium hydroxide is a better cauterant with minimal side effects and comparable efficacy.[9],[11],[12][Table 3] shows the comparison of post-operative parameters in NaOH group and Phenol group in our study with other studies.
Table 3: Comparison between post-operative parameters in NaOH and phenol group with other studies

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Results from our study are comparable with the above-mentioned studies on the reduced post-operative morbidity by sodium hydroxide.

Trichloro acetic acid in lower concentrations is generally used for chemical peeling. Higher concentrations (80–100%) have been used in partial matricectomies. It causes coagulative necrosis of the tissues and is associated with both epidermal and dermal necrosis with the advantage of self neutralization. It also carries the advantage of faster cauterization and reduced bleeding post-operatively as observed in our study during immediate post-operative period. Terzi et al.[6] studied the efficacy of 90% TCA in 56 nails and reported lower rates of post-operative pain and post-operative discharge. Few studies have compared the efficacy of TCA and Phenol in matricectomies and have concluded that TCA is associated with lesser post-operative morbidity.[13],[14]

Terzi et al.[13] reported a success of 88.2% with phenol and 98.2% with TCA. [Table 4] shows the comparison of post-operative parameters in our study with other studies.
Table 4: Comparison between post-operative parameters in phenol and TCA group with other studies

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Our comprehensive literature search did not reveal any study that had compared the efficacy of three cauterants in the treatment of ingrown nails. We have thus compared the efficacy of all three cauterants although the sample size is a limitation.

Therefore, we conclude that trichloroacetic acid is associated with lower post-operative morbidity and faster re-epithelization of wound and carries an added advantage of quicker cauterization of the nail bed and no immediate post-operative bleeding.

Acknowledgement

We thank Dr. Niveatha S for help with statistical tests and analysis.

Financial support and sponsorship

IADVL PG thesis Grant.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Gem MA, Sykes PA Ingrowing toenails: studies of segmental chemical ablation. Br J Clin Pract 1990;44:562-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Richert B, Chiacchio ND, Caucanas M, Chiacchio NGD Surgical treatment. In: Richert Betrand , editor. Management of ingrowing nails. 1st ed. Basel: Springer International Publishing; 2016. pp. 95-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Kocyigit P, Bostanci S, Ozdemir E, Gürgey E Sodium hydroxide chemical matricectomy for the treatment of ingrown toenails: comparison of three different application periods. Dermatol Surg 2005;31:744-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Kim SH, Ko HC, Oh CK, Kwon KS, Kim MB Trichloroacetic acid matricectomy in the treatment of ingrowing toenails. Dermatol Surg 2009;35:973-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Barreiros H, Matos D, Goulão J, Serrano P, João A, Brandão FM Using 80% trichloroacetic acid in the treatment of ingrown toenails. An Bras Dermatol 2013;88:889-93.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Terzi E, Guvenc U, Türsen B, Kaya Tİ, Erdem T, Türsen Ü The effectiveness of matrix cauterization with trichloroacetic acid in the treatment of ingrown toenails. Indian Dermatol Online J 2015;6:4-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Heifitz CJ Ingrown toe nail. Am J Surg 1937;38:298-315.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Bostanci S, Ekmekçi P, Gürgey E Chemical matricectomy with phenol for the treatment of ingrowing toenail: a review of the literature and follow-up of 172 treated patients. Acta Derm Venereol 2001;81:181-3.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Bostanci S, Kocyigit P, Gürgey E Comparison of phenol and sodium hydroxide chemical matricectomies for the treatment of ingrowing toenails. Dermatol Surg 2007;33:680-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Ozdemir E, Bostanci S, Ekmekci P, Gurgey E Chemical matricectomy with 10% sodium hydroxide for the treatment of ingrowing toenails. Dermatol Surg 2004;30:26-31.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Arif AJ, Majeed S, Arif A Comparison of efficacy of phenol and sodium hydroxide matricectomies for management of ingrown toe nails. Pak Armed Forces Med J 2015;65:630-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Grover C, Khurana A, Bhattacharya SN, Sharma A Controlled trial comparing the efficacy of 88% phenol versus 10% sodium hydroxide for chemical matricectomy in the management of ingrown toenail. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2015;81:472-7.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Terzi E, Güvenç U, Türsen B, Tayfun E, Çoşansu NC, Türsen Ü Comparison of phenol and trichloroacetic acid chemical matricectomies in the treatment of Unguis Inkarinatus. SM Dermatolog J 2018;4:1029.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Moustaide K, Aqil N, Gallouj S, Mernissi FZ Controlled trial comparing the efficacy of 88% phenol versus 100% trichloracetic acid for chemical matricectomy in the management of ingrown toenail. Our Dermatol Online 2019;10:116-20.  Back to cited text no. 14
    

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Correspondence Address:
Shrutakirthi Damodar Shenoi
No. 21, Department of Dermatology, Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Manipal 576104, Karnataka.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_183_19

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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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