Davies, Christopher S. (1993) An investigative study to compare the effects on healing times, in the use of Phenol with spirit displacement, and Sodium Hydroxide with acetic acid neutralisation in chemical cautery of the nail matrix. Journal of British Podiatric Medicine (7). ISSN 0961-6055

Ingrowing toenails are common problems faced by chiropodists and are commonly seen in patients between the ages of fifteen and forty years, with a male to female predominance of 3:1.
Palliative treatments do not always alleviate the condition, especially where the nail is deformed and symptoms recur. Chemical sterilisation of the nail growth areas is a common surgical technique employed by state registered chiropodists to destroy the growth of new nail cells and thus to effect a permanent cure from the symptoms.

Traditionally, phenol 90% has been the chemical of choice for destruction of the growth areas of nail in surgical interventions performed by chiropodists. A disadvantage of the use of phenol is that some colleagues have reported prolonged healing times, as well as reporting cases of residual inflammation and pain. Research undertaken suggests that the use of 10% sodium hydroxide as an alternative to phenol and results demonstrated a marked decrease in healing times and in symptoms recorded by a sample of patients. Travers and Ammon (1980) introduced a safe alternative method of chemical destruction of the nail matrix. The issue to be tested in these trials is a direct comparison of the two chemical agents, phenol and sodium hydroxide and their respective healing times.

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