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Surgical Corn Removal

What is a corn?

A corn is a skin lesion of hard compacted area of dead skin, compressed by pressure, usually over the toe knuckles. 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.

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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