Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails

Clinical studies show that over 80% of patients who have laser nail treatment have a significant improvement in the appearance of their nails.

What are my options?

Laser treatment of the nail may reduce thickness, improve appearance, and make trimming easier. However, treatment is not generally considered medically necessary unless other factors are present such as diabetes, poor circulation, excessive pressure, pain, or lack of normal sensation.

Options include:

  • Not having treatment and living with the condition.
  • The use of liquid antifungals such as prescription topicals which reports a 7% cure rate and 44% improvement rate.
  • The use of prescription oral Lamisil which reports up to a 66% success rate with need for blood tests to monitor for possible liver damage.
  • Laser treatment.

Treatment

How does the laser treatment work?
We use a Nd:YAG laser which is one of the most advanced dermatologic lasers currently available. In 3-10 billionths of a second, impulses of high power laser energy pass through the nail to the nail bed and nail growth area with typically no damage to the nail or surrounding skin. At the time of the procedure no visible change is seen until the nail begins to grow out. In a few months, a more normal nail is expected to appear with complete regrowth of the nail taking up to 9-12 months.

What is the recovery period?
No post treatment pain has been reported. You may resume all normal activities immediately. If you have any problems or questions, please contact our office.

Is the procedure painful?
Most people do not feel any pain. Some patients may experience slight warmth or occasional snapping sensation during the procedure. If you have any pain during the procedure, the laser power can be decreased slightly to eliminate any pain. No anesthesia is needed.

How long does the procedure take?
The amount of time varies on the degree of involvement of the nails. Very thick nails are mechanically reduced to a more normal thickness with specialized equipment. The laser is then applied typically taking only a 15-20 minutes.

Can the nail not improve?
The nail is expected to improve with just one treatment, however, depending on the severity of the case 5-8 treatments may be required. Clinical reports to date have been encouraging with most patients noticing significant improvement. As with all medical procedures, a 100% guarantee is not possible. Your foot specialist can recommend other strategies to maintain healthy nails. Changing socks and shoes frequently is helpful, as well as controlling excessive perspiration if present.

How much does laser treatment cost?
The cost varies depending on the number of nails involved and severity of the infection.


Am I a good candidate for laser fungal nail treatment?

Generally, the longer you have had a toenail fungus infection the worse it is and the harder it is to resolve. Laser fungal nail treatment is not indicated in people with the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Presence of skin cancers
  • Peripheral neuropathy ( numbness of loss of feeling in the feet)
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease ( poor circulation )

How Soon will I see results after my laser toenail treatment?

On average, a toenail will replace itself every 9 -12 months. Healthy new nail growth will be visible within the first 2 months as your nail continues to grow following the laser treatment. As part of the treatment plan we highly recommend the use of a topical anti-fungal agent to prevent cross contamination and the use of an anti-fungal shoe spray to reduce the risk of re- contamination.

Does the laser toenail treatment permanently cure my fungus?

Fungus is an opportunistic organism. In other words it is always around us in our environment and if the right conditions are available (warmth and moisture) it may grow. The procedure will treat the infection you currently have but will not prevent you from getting it again in the future. You will need to take precautions in the future to prevent reoccurrences.

How to prevent nail fungus

  • Wear flip flops or rubber sandals when you use public facilities such as gym showers, change rooms and swimming pools. Nail fungus is contagious and someone with an infection may have walked in the area before you.
  • Wear shoes made out of breathable materials such as canvas or leather.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and dont pinch your toes. Damaged toenails provide a good place for fungus to grow.
  • Use anti-fungal sprays and powders in your shoes or on your feet to eliminate any fungus that might be present. Avoid using the same shoes everyday to give them time to air dry especially if you sweat a lot. If you sweat excessively change your socks a couple of times a day.
  • Do not cover up an existing nail fungus with nail polish. Ignoring the fungus will only give it more time to get worse.
  • Wash your feet regularly with soap and dry well especially between the toes. Fungus grows in moist damp places.
  • If you get a pedicure or manicure from a salon or spa make sure they sterilize their instruments after every customer. Sterilization in a liquid is not adequate. They should be using steam sterilizers. Alternately, you could purchase your own set of foot care instruments and bring your own nail polish.
  • See a chiropodist or podiatrist if you suspect you have an infection. Early treatment of fungus is critical.

Videos



Conditions Commonly Treated

Fungal Toenails

Fungal toenails are sometimes difficult to diagnose without seeing a professional but may be identifiable by white spots on the surface of toenails, yellow



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