Laceration – nail bed

  • Pain control

    Administer medications as required for pain (paracetamol and ibuprofen are available from pharmacies without prescription). Local anaesthetic is administered at the time of surgery; this wears off within 24 hours and pain may increase when this occurs. Any areas that are made numb by the local anaesthetic should regain sensation at this time.


    Keep dressings clean, dry and intact until your review appointment.


    If antibiotics are prescribed for your child, administer these as directed.


    Keep the arm elevated in a sling to reduce pain and swelling and encourage faster healing. Avoid activities that would cause undue strain to the affected finger.

    What to expect

    Whether the nail will grow back normally depends on the extent of the injury sustained, but in most cases nail growth is normal. The surgeon will be able to give you an idea of whether normal nail growth is expected, likely or unexpected. The length of time that your child has to wear the bandages also depends on the injury but it is usually around three weeks.

    Medical attention

    Seek medical attention if your child has:

    • Increasing pain or pain not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Colour changes (white, blue, purple) to the fingers
    • Wound discharge or increasing redness


    Your follow-up appointment will be at one of the following:

    • Plastic Surgery Outpatients (Registrar Clinic), Blue Desk, Ground Floor, The Royal Children's Hospital (morning appointment)
    • Consultant Clinic 
    • Consultant Private Rooms 
    • Local doctor

    If you are unable to keep your appointment please call to reschedule.


    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 5391
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed November 2015.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.