Paronychia (Nail Infection) (cont.)
Paronychia (Nail Infection) Treatment
If an abscess (pus pocket) has formed, the recommended treatment is to drain the abscess by doing an incision and drainage procedure.
Your doctor will most likely use a medicine (such as lidocaine) to numb the entire finger first and then will open the abscess using a surgical knife (scalpel).
Sometimes packing called a wick is placed in the abscess to allow it to continue to drain when you go home and to keep it from closing up and reforming the abscess. The packing is usually left in for 24-48 hours.
In extreme cases, the infection can move under the fingernail and may need partial or complete nail removal. Antibiotics are usually not necessary unless there is extensive infection spreading onto the digit.
Your doctor may or may not take a culture of the drainage to check for the type of bacteria involved in the infection.
After your doctor has drained the paronychia, warm soaks are still recommended. Usually, antibiotics are only prescribed if the infection involves more of the finger than around the nail bed. It is important to follow up with your doctor in 24-48 hours to be sure that the infection is healing properly.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2014
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