Alcohol Plus Chlorhexidine is More Efficient Than Alcohol Alone for Phenol-Based Chemical Matricectomy: An In Vitro Study

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A phenolization approach is often chosen for treatment of ingrown toenails. Many reports describe lavage of the wound with alcohol to neutralize any residual phenol. The aim of our study was to compare the suitability and effectiveness of a solution consisting of alcohol plus chlorhexidine with that of alcohol alone in a lavage step during the treatment of ingrown toenails using a phenolization procedure.


We performed an in vitro study using human matrix and a diffusion cell apparatus to measure the amount of phenol remaining after various lavage washes. The effect of phenol evaporation was also examined.


When phenol was irrigated with alcohol alone, total phenol recovered was 29.9 ± 4.8 mg (62.9% of the initial amount). When the phenol was irrigated with isopropyl alcohol plus 0.5% chlorhexidine, 39.8 ± 1.7 mg (83.8%) of phenol was recovered.


A lavage step including alcohol and chlorhexidine is more effective than alcohol alone for removal of excess phenol. The addition of chlorhexidine also contributed to inhibition of the action of phenol. This approach provides a suitable and effective means of diluting and removing any excess or residual phenol from the exposed area.

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