Scar Revision, Fingertip and Nail Bed Surgery

  • Home
  • Hand
  • Scar Revision, Fingertip and Nail Bed Surgery

Scar Revision Surgery

Healed wounds cause scars. Scars result from an injury or from surgery. When wound healing doesn’t go well the scar might be unattractive or even contract causing problems with movement.

Although it is impossible to completely remove a scar, scar revision surgery on the hand can change how it looks by blending it in with the surrounding skin. If a scar is causing movement problems, then scar revision surgery can help reduce the tightness caused by the scar.

Fingertip reconstruction surgery

Whether crushed by a closing door, slammed with a hammer or lost due to a runaway saw, injuries to the fingertips are the most common hand injuries seen in emergency departments. Fingertip reconstruction improves appearance and function, by repairing the tip of your finger.

The tip of this finger will never look exactly the same or return to full sensation, but the ability to use it and its appearance can be greatly improved. 

Surgical repair to the nail bed

This type of repair may be needed because of a fingertip injury and will be fixed at the same time as the fingertip. However, some injuries may later cause split nails or hook nails and these can be improved by surgical repair to the nail bed.
Surgical repair to the nail bed will often mean the temporary removal of the nail (if you still have it) and surgery to the underlying part of the nail bed.


Who are these types of hand surgery for?

The reasons for considering hand surgeries such as scar revision surgery, fingertip reconstruction surgery or surgical nail bed repair are personal and will be determined by the extent of damage, change in ability to use or the look of your hand.


What happens?

Before surgery

The first step is to make an appointment to see Dr McMillan.

You will meet Dr McMillan at his private rooms in Fernbrae House, Dunedin or in Invercargill to review the damage to your hand and its physical appearance, and to discuss the best surgical options.

This is an important step; not only gaining an understanding of the expected surgical outcomes but also developing your relationship with Dr McMillan as you work together to establish better appearance or function for your hand.

Once you have decided on what needs to be done, a date will be booked for you at Fernbrae House or at Mercy Hospital, Dunedin to have your procedure.

During surgery

Once you are asleep or the area is numbed cuts will be made at the surgery site and the repair to the scarring, fingertip or nail bed will be undertaken.

For some of these surgical repairs, such as the fingertip reconstruction, a skin graft with skin taken from another part of your body may be needed. If a skin graft is needed, where the skin will be taken from will be discussed with you ahead of your surgery.

All of the surgical sites will be sutured using very fine sutures.

After surgery, dressings will be placed over the suture lines on your hand and donor site, if you have one. Your hand will be wrapped in a bandage.

Recovery process

Hand surgery is usually a day procedure. You will not need to stay overnight at the hospital.

Skin healing will occur over the first week and you may experience some discomfort and tenderness around the surgery area.

To assist in swift recovery, it is common for physiotherapy to be needed. This improves blood flow, movement and muscle tone in your hand.


Expected outcome

There will be some pain and reduced movement to the hand immediately after your procedure.

Scars take some time to reduce completely. Dr McMillan will provide after surgery advice on wound care to ensure the best outcome for the scar.

Nails take longer to fully repair as the new nail grows in slowly. This may take about 2-3 months. Often this nail will look different from before, and different from your other nails.


Risks and complications

As with all surgical procedures, there are risks and potential complications with scar revision surgery, fingertip reconstruction surgery and surgical nail bed repair. Dr McMillan will discuss all of these with you during your consultation and answer your questions.



There is a cost to having scar revision surgery, fingertip reconstruction surgery and surgical nail bed repair when done privately. The exact figure will depend on a range of factors but generally the cost is between $1,700 and $4,500. ACC will generally fund this type of surgery required as a result of an accident.


Contact us

Get in contact to make an initial consultation with Dr McMillan about scar revision surgery, fingertip reconstruction surgery or surgical nail bed repair.

Dr Will McMillan Plastic Surgery in Dunedin

Useful Links