Phenol cauterization is often the treatment of choice for some types of ingrown toenails; however, there are conflicting reports in the literature as to whether neutralization of the phenol is required or merely effective removal of excess phenol is needed. An intraoperative irrigation with isopropyl alcohol after the application of phenol to the skin does not neutralize the phenol, but rather dilutes it.1,2 Owing to the solubility of phenol in alcohol and water, we hypothesized that the intraoperative irrigation with an aqueous solution, such as 0.9% sterile saline, isopropyl alcohol, or 2% lidocaine3 would eliminate, rather than neutralize any residual phenol. We performed an in vitro study using the nail bed to test our hypothesis.
Diaz DC, Iglesias MEL, Diaz MC, Vallejo RBDB. Enhanced Removal of Phenol With Lidocaine vs AlcoholAn In Vitro Study. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(4):325-326. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.5244