Nails are made of a tough protein called keratin that is also found in hair and skin. The phrase “nail plate” is the technical term for what most people call the nail. The nail bed is the skin immediately under the nail plate, and it is comprised of two tissue types: an epidermis and a dermis. The matrix is the part of the nail bed that produces more nail plate cells. The lunula or crescent, which can sometimes be seen at the base of the nail, is the visible part of the matrix. When injuries occur in or near the nail bed, nail bed repair is typically used to correct the situation.
What Causes an Injury to the Nail Bed?
Injuries to the nail bed are usually caused by injuries to the finger or toe. For example, a broken toe or finger may be accompanied by damage to the nail bed. The nail bed can also be damaged by cuts or lacerations. Pinching or crushing injuries, like that caused by getting a finger caught in a door, can cause injury to the nail bed.
What Does Nail Bed Repair Involve?
Our doctor will first want a description of how the injury occurred. He will also probably X-ray the patient in order to check for broken bones. The treatment will depend on the type of injury and its severity. The patient will probably be given a local anesthetic before nail bed repair is performed.
What is a Subungual Hematoma?
A subungual hematoma is bleeding under the nail. It is usually caused by a crushing injury like hitting one’s thumb with a hammer or dropping a heavy object on one’s toe. The patient’s blood collects under the nail and causes intense, throbbing pain and discoloration of the nail.
During a consultation, our doctor will check for broken bones and other serious injuries. If he doesn’t find any, he will likely decompress the hematoma to relieve the pressure caused by the accumulation of blood. After numbing the treatment site, either a needle, heated wire (electrocautery device) or carbon laser may be used to perforate the nail and let the blood drain.
In a complicated subungual hematoma, the blood has accumulated under the whole nail and caused it to separate from the nail bed. In these cases, our doctor may have to remove the nail. However, it all depends on the unique situation.
What is a Nail Bed Laceration?
A nail bed laceration is a cut involving both the nail and the nail bed beneath it. Our doctor may remove the damaged part of the nail and then stitch the wound to the nail bed. He may replace the damaged nail to have it serve as a splint. Over time, a healthy, new nail will grow in to replace it.
Learn More About Nail Bed Repair
Injuries to the nail bed can be painful. Fortunately, nail bed repair can be used to fix the problem, leading to a better quality of life for the patient. You can learn more about the details of nail bed repair during a consultation at Arora Hand Surgery in Macomb Township, Warren, Howell, or West Bloomfield.