Lasers represent the latest advancement in minimally invasive treatments. They’ve been used for scar resurfacing, plantar wart removal, varicose vein treatment, eye surgery, kidney stone and prostate removal — and now, to clear up the appearance of toenail fungus, too. The downside of onychomycosis lasers is that they are relatively expensive and not covered by insurance. So it’s only natural to wonder: Is this a viable cure or a waste of money?
Yes, Lasers Are A Promising Nail Fungus Solution
All infectious agents can be killed by heat except prions, which makes laser therapy a promising option for onychomycosis, Dr. Jill S. Waibel said in Skin & Allergy News. The laser is believed to work on toenail fungus in three different ways. The water in the nail’s keratin absorbs the energy and heats the fungal organelles. The laser also creates free radicals that destroy the dermatophyte. Lastly, the acoustic shockwaves decapsulates the spores. In one of Dr. Waibel’s studies, 67 out of 73 people were cleared of infection by 12 months after 3-4 onychomycosis laser treatments. Six people had recurrences, which is still better than the 50% cure rate of oral terbinafine, she said.
No, Lasers Are Not A Way To Cure Toenail Fungus Fast
Another study contradicts these findings, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Ten patients underwent five onychomycosis laser treatments. None of the 14 toenails treated showed significant improvement. Researchers concluded, “In these experiments, a fungicidal effect was only achieved with heat; however, this effect would not translate to clinical treatment given the degree of the temperature and length of time needed to achieve cell death,” the researchers reported.
The Bottom Line:
You’ll meet some doctors who adamantly believe in the power of laser foot fungus removal and you’ll meet other doctors who would rather try an oral treatment like terbinafine instead. Terbinafine is not recommended for all patients, however — especially people with liver damage and weakened immune systems or pregnant women. No matter which treatment you choose, there are two important points to remember.
1. There is no way to cure toenail fungus fast. Whether you take pills, try topical lacquers or get laser treatment for fungal nails, you will still have to wait for the old fungus-infected nail to grow out. This could easily take up to a full year. Lasers may make the nail less yellow or cloudy, but the nails will still be infected for a while. After a few months, you should see a clearer nail coming in from the nail-bed.
2. An effective nail fungus solution includes preventative measures. The possibility for re-infection is high, especially since tiny spores can actively live in the shoes and on bed sheets for many months. You will need to clean all surfaces your bare feet may have touched, toenail clippers, all socks, bedding and shoes.
The SteriShoe UV Shoe Sanitizer is one of the newest, clinically-proven tools to help you fight the spread of toenail fungus in your home. One 45-minute treatment will kill up to 99.9% of the fungus, bacteria and odor-causing microbes in your shoes. If you are considering dropping the cash on a laser nail fungus solution, you should also invest in preventative technology to keep your footwear sanitized, too.