Nail Removal

What is nail removal?

Nail removal, also known as a nail biopsy, is a medical procedure where a portion or the entire nail is removed for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. It is usually performed when there are abnormalities or concerns related to the nail, such as infections, tumours, or chronic nail conditions.

The different types of nail removal include:

  • Nail avulsion: removal of the nail plate. Usually done for ingrown toenails, fungal infections, or nail deformities.
  • Nail matrix biopsy: biopsy of the baby nail. This procedure requires the removal of the nail plate, followed by lifting up the proximal skin, and then a biopsy is done on the tissue under the skin fold. This is usually done to rule out melanoma.
  • Nail bed biopsy: biopsy of the tissue underneath the nail plate. Performed after removing the nail. Done on tumours that arise from the nail bed.

Nail removal may be a minor outpatient procedure and it typically involves minimal discomfort and a relatively quick recovery time.

nail removal

How does nail removal work?

During a nail removal or nail biopsy procedure, you will first receive a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the affected nail. This ensures that you do not experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Once the area is numb, a portion or the entire nail is removed depending on the purpose of the procedure.

The nail is gently separated from the nail bed using specialised instruments. If a biopsy is necessary, a small piece of the nail tissue is collected for further examination. The removed nail tissue is then sent for analysis to determine the underlying cause of any nail abnormalities or concerns.

After the nail removal or biopsy, a sterile dressing may be applied to the area to protect it and promote healing. Your dermatologist will provide you with specific instructions for post-procedure care, which may include keeping the area clean, applying ointment, dressing changes, and avoiding activities that may put a strain on the treated nail.

Benefits of nail removal

  • Identifies underlying causes
  • Guides treatment decisions
  • Helps monitor treatment progress
  • Provides peace of mind
  • Enables early detection
  • Minimally invasive

Make an appointment with us today for an accurate assessment of your nail problems .

What conditions can nail removal treat?

Nail removal can be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Fungal nail infections: help diagnose and guide treatment for fungal infections that affect the nails, such as onychomycosis.
  • Bacterial infections: can help identify the specific bacteria causing an infection and guide appropriate antibiotic therapy.
  • Nail tumours: crucial in evaluating and diagnosing nail tumours such as subungual melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Nail psoriasis: may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of psoriasis and assess the severity of nail involvement.
  • Nail dystrophies: can be used to investigate and diagnose various nail dystrophies such as onycholysis, onychomadesis, or pachyonychia congenita.
  • Nail trauma or injuries: in cases of severe nail trauma or persistent nail abnormalities following an injury, nail removal or biopsy can help assess the extent of damage and guide appropriate management.
  • Nail abnormalities of unknown origin: when there are unexplained nail abnormalities or changes, nail removal or biopsy can be performed to investigate and determine the underlying cause.
nail problems

What results can I expect?

After a nail removal or biopsy, you can expect several possible outcomes depending on the specific condition being treated or diagnosed:

  • Diagnosis: the primary goal of nail removal or biopsy is to obtain a sample for laboratory analysis. You can expect to receive a definitive diagnosis or confirmation of a suspected condition based on the examination of the nail tissue.
  • Treatment guidance: if the nail removal or biopsy was performed to guide treatment, the results will help determine the most appropriate course of action. This may include prescribing specific medications for fungal or bacterial infections or recommending further interventions based on the diagnosis.
  • Prognosis assessment: for conditions like nail tumours or severe nail abnormalities, the results of the nail removal or biopsy can provide valuable information about the extent of the condition and help determine the prognosis. This knowledge can guide further management and follow-up care.
  • Peace of mind: obtaining a clear diagnosis through nail removal or biopsy can bring peace of mind, especially when there have been unexplained nail changes or concerns. Having a definitive understanding of the underlying condition can alleviate anxiety and allow for appropriate treatment and monitoring.

How many treatment sessions are required?

The number of treatment sessions required for nail removal or nail biopsy varies depending on the specific condition being treated or diagnosed. In many cases, a single session may be sufficient to obtain the necessary sample or achieve your desired outcome. However certain conditions may require multiple treatment sessions for complete resolution or further evaluation.


How painful is a nail biopsy?

After a nail removal or biopsy, it is common to experience throbbing pain for one to two days. The pain will gradually decrease within a week, but the area may still be sensitive to touch. It is also normal to have numbness or tingling at the biopsy site for a few weeks.

How long does it take to recover from a nail biopsy?

It takes about 2 weeks to recover from a nail biopsy. However, it may take longer for the nail plate to fully regrow.

What are the risks of nail biopsy?
There are some potential risks associated with a nail biopsy procedure, including bleeding, infection, permanent nail changes, incomplete diagnosis, post-operative pain, and temporary functional limitations of the affected finger or toe.


What does a contact allergy look like?
Skin rashes, hives, itchiness, redness, burning, swelling, and tenderness could be symptoms of a contact allergy, especially after coming into contact with a particular substance.
How do you relieve contact allergies?
Applying anti-itch creams and taking anti-itch medications, cold compresses, cool baths, and avoiding the particular substance that causes the allergy can all provide relief for contact allergies.
How long does it take to treat contact allergies?
Upon avoiding the contact allergen, symptoms typically clear up in 2-4 weeks. However, it depends on the individual and treatment plan.
Are contact allergies contagious?
No, contact allergies are not contagious and will not spread to other people.



Dr Uma Alagappan is a MOH accredited consultant dermatologist in private with more than 15 years experience as a medical doctor. She sub-specialises in paediatric dermatology, women’s dermatology and general dermatology. Dr Uma’s interests include chronic eczema, food allergy and immunodermatology. She is also well versed with the use of lasers for treating paediatric and adult patients.
Dr Uma completed her dermatology training in Changi General Hospital and National Skin Centre in 2015. She joined KKH Dermatology Service to subspecialize in paediatric dermatology in 2017. She was awarded the Ministry of Health Manpower Development Plan Award in 2019 to pursue paediatric immunodermatology and allergo-dermatology in the renowned Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts, USA. Upon her return, she spearheaded a number of clinics at KKH including the food allergy eczema clinic for the paediatric eczema patients, immunodermatology clinics and the psychology eczema multi-disciplinary clinics.
Read More


Oxygen Icon Box

Tel: +65 9023 0905

Oxygen Icon Box

Fax: +65 6592 1411

Oxygen Icon Box

Fax: +65 6592 1411

Oxygen Icon Box

321 Joo Chiat Pl, #05-01A Parkway East Specialist Hospital, Singapore 427990

Oxygen Icon Box

Tel: +65 6320 0310

Oxygen Icon Box

290 Orchard Road 09-01/02 Paragon Medical Centre, Singapore 238859

Oxygen Icon Box

Oxygen Icon Box

Mon-Fri: 9:00a.m - 5:00p.m
Sat: 9:00a.m - 12.30p.m
Sun and public holidays (CLOSED)

Map Direction: Parkway East SpecialistMap Direction: Paragon Medical Centre


Email us at

Alternatively, you may fill in our enquiry form here.

321 Joo Chiat Pl, #05-01A Parkway East Specialist Hospital, Singapore 427990 | Tel: +65 6517 9760
290 Orchard Road 09-01/02 Paragon Medical Centre, Singapore 238859 | Tel: +65 6320 0310


rocketchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram