Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus
No one wants to have to hide their feet because of nail fungus. If you have infected toenails, you know how embarrassing it can be. Ugly, discolored and disfigured toenails definitely hamper your social and personal activities.
Signs of fungal infection
The likelihood is high that you have an infection — if one or more of your nails are:
- Brittle, crumbly or ragged
- Distorted in shape
- Dull, with no shine
- A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail
- Foul odor
- See Images of toenail fungus infection
Toenail Fungus is not your “fault”
Nail Fungus, medically termed Onychomycosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis) is one of the most commonly diagnosed foot conditions, affecting 10-12 percent of the population. The microbes that cause nail fungus are very small and survive in warm moist environments. It is easy to pick up the infection at pools, showers, gyms, nail salons that don’t use proper disinfection techniques and you can catch it from someone you live with.
Diabetics are especially at risk with a 34 percent chance of developing fungal nail infection and an increased instance of other complications. In those age 70 and up, 50 percent are expected to develop onychomycosis.
Typical treatment for nail fungus
The treatment of nail fungus has been challenging. The previous standard of care has been oral anti-fungal medications, which carry side effects including the potential for chemical driven liver damage and a high failure rate. Topical treatments alone have also resulted in limited success due to their inability to properly penetrate the nail and the patient’s challenging commitment to treatment application over a long period of time – usually a full year.
FDA-approved LASER TREATMENT for toenail fungus
Laser therapies like Candela’s Gentle Pro Nd:YAG Laser allow us to treat nail fungus symptoms locally without the side effects of oral medications. Nearly all infectious agents can be killed by heat, which makes laser therapy an extremely promising new option for anyone suffering from a fungal infection of the nails. The new handpeice of this laser is FDA approved for treating this condition.
How does a laser kill fungus?
The Gentle Pro Nd:YAG Laser raises the temperature under the nail to a level that’s inhospitable to fungus in order to increase the appearance of clear nails. Dr. Pilest combines the use of presciption topical treatment to improve the success rate of fungal clearance.
How many treatments and how long does it take?
Treatments are 3 – 5 sessions, once every 2 weeks. At 3 months there is another assessment. Because the infected nail material must grow out naturally, you will not see clear nails until that growth period is complete. This can take months and is predicated on how fast your nails usually grow. It will be important to follow nail care guidelines to reduce the potential for reinfection.
How can I prevent nail fungus?
The germs that cause toenail fungus, or onychomycosis as it is known in the medical world, are tough to avoid. They thrive near pools, in gyms, on clothing and can even hide in carpeting. So it may be no surprise that at some point in their lives, roughly 1 out of 10 adults develop the infection, which can leave nails brittle, discolored and inflamed.
One step in helping to prevent toenail fungus is to carefully select any professional nail salon you may go to for pedicures or manicures. The fungus is highly contagious and can be transferred by improperly sanitized tools. One potential positive step is to purchase your own implements and only allow your own tools to be used on your nails. Also avoid soaking your feet in salon whirlpool basins as the infection can lurk in the mechanism that recirculates the water. Useful Washington Post article on prevention
Can’t I treat toenail fungus at home?
Topically applied liquids are available in most every drugstore. To have a chance at actually working, the solution must be applied at least once a day for a year. Adhering to that treatment regimen daily for 12 months is rarely something most people are willing to stick with and there is no guarantee of clearance.
If you would like to learn more about treatment options for toenail fungus, please call our office at 949-727-3800 today to schedule a consultation or fill out the form on this page and one of our trusted staff members will reach out to you promptly.