Corn Removal Main Description

Many patients don’t realise that the unsightly rub lesions over toe knuckles can most often be permanently removed with modern surgical techniques. Knuckle lesions such as callouses, corns and bursitis with loss of pigment, can all be safely treated by “corn removal surgery”, which normally takes under 10 minutes per toe, usually under a local anaesthetic.

Most of our patients have tried a range of treatments for their corns, including acid treatment, corn pads and plasters, chiropody treatment and creams, with little to no success. Indeed many of the lesions are made worse by using acid treatments. Corn removal surgery usually involves correction of the underlying problem such as hammertoe or mallet toe deformities, which is why non-surgical corn treatments don’t work. Most of our patients have this surgery under local anaesthetic since it takes less than 10 minutes per toe. Our consultant has over 26-years surgical experience in corn removal surgery. The consultation will cover the condition, how the correction is undertaken, rehabilitation, post-surgical recovery requirements and the risks of the surgery.

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A corn is a skin lesion of hard compacted area of dead skin.

It can form a hard “seed” or “corn” in the centre of surrounding callous (hard skin). Often the toe can be too long or bent (such as a hammertoe), which raises the knuckle that rubs against the shoe and causes the corn to form. The same treatment (below) can be used for patients with dark or light skin corn lesions (hyper or hypo-pigmentation). Many of our Asian and Afro Caribbean patients undertake surgical corn removal.

Why do we seem to only have corns on the feet?

Because we encase the feet in a hard shoe, any regular pressure against a prominent toe joint can cause a callous or corn or multiple corns. The feet uniquely take the whole of the body weight and when this is combined with shoe pressure, the corn or corns are formed.

Why won’t it go?

Despite padding, chemical applications such as corn plasters and chiropody treatment, corns are normally very stubborn and unsightly in open footwear and sandals. What is often overlooked is that underneath the corn there is a lump of inflamed tissue which forms, called a bursa. This forms in response to soft-tissue inflammation over either of the small knuckle. This then further increases the pressure underneath the corn, making it more sore and prominent.

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Surgical Corn Removal Patients

Surgical Corn Removal Patients

  • Shortening fusions with Nextra clips with corn removal in addition
  • These 2 corns were surgically removed, the results on the right are 6-months after the surgery
  • Corn removal surgery - which was combined with toe-shortening
  • This nasty painful corn on the 2nd toe was caused by a hammertoe and bunion deformity. In this case, these had to be corrected because the corn kept returning after chiropody treatment.
  • Multiple pigmented lesions were removed from the middle 3 toes and the toes were also slightly shortened. The patient is very pleased at 3-months after surgery and is aware that her mild scarring will continue to improve over a long period of time.
  • 2nd and 4th toe skin plasty procedures for unsightly (depigmented) corn lesions
  • This patient had abnormal pigmented corn-type lesions over the four main toes. After simple anthroplasty treatment with only partial excision of the skin lesions, the effect was drastic with the rest of lesions clearing up also.
  • Before & after corn removal surgery 3-months post-op
  • 3-months after corn removal surgery to the middle toes.
  • 3-months following corn removal surgery. Any swelling and redness will resolve over the next 3-months. Understandably, the patient is very happy with her new toes!

Surgical Corn Removal

Surgical Corn Removal

Why should I have it surgically removed?

The procedure to remove a corn is called a skin plasty, which removes the corn completely, and the bursa underneath. In most cases we will recommend either a small joint fusion or an arthroplasty. These procedures are what prevent the corn returning by either preventing the toe from buckling in shoes (joint fusion) or removing a small piece of bone from the knuckle to stop the skin pressure from within (arthroplasty). These additional procedures are very successful in preventing the corn from returning and therefore provide a cure for the corns, which cannot be provided with conservative or non-surgical treatments.

Where does the procedure take place?

If you are happy to have a local anaesthetic, we can perform the corn removal surgery our day-case clinic in North London. Further details are provided at the time of booking. The surgery can be undertaken under a general anaesthetic, although we advise that this raises the cost considerably.

What about aftercare?

You will have fine stitches in each toe for 2-weeks where the corn used to be, and you must ensure that the toe is kept straight with nothing rubbing against the top of the toe. The first dressing is quite bulky and we will issue you with a post-op surgical sandal for the first week. After that you may bathe the toe/s and wear a loose closed shoe such as a trainer or sneaker. At 2-weeks we will remove the stitches and you should then wear a toe protector to soften and reduce the scarline. A fine scar will be placed across the toe in line with your normal skin creases, which fades over time and can continue to improve for up to a year or longer.

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