When you have unsightly toenail fungus, you might want to nip the problem in the bud immediately and seek out powerful treatment methods. Lasers represent the latest technological advancement in the treatment of toenail fungus. Laser toenail treatment manufacturers like Pinpointe, Cutera, Q-Clear, Noveon, and Aerolase promise to eliminate nail fungus without requiring a lengthy course of treatment or a lot of patient compliance. All you do is show up to the laser clinic, submit to a 30-minute treatment, and take a few precautions at home to prevent recurrence. In that way, lasers are much more preferable to oral and topical treatments that must be administered daily for months on end. However, not every patient will be able to receive laser treatment for fungal nails.
How Laser Toenail Fungus Removal Works
During laser toenail fungus removal, tiny pulses of light emitted from a machine pass through the nail bed to heat up the fungus so much that it dies off, while leaving the surrounding tissue intact. The unit’s real-time sensor ensures that the right amount of energy is delivered to kill the fungus, and the 5mm size allows doctors to accurately target a fungal colony without adverse side effects. Most onychomycosis laser treatments involve an initial consultation and two or three laser sessions. Patients report a “warming” sensation, but no pain — and can resume work and other activities immediately.
Does Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails Work?
Some doctors recommend applying topical medication or shoe powder following laser toenail fungus treatment as added insurance against recurrence, but, generally speaking, no medications are necessary after laser therapy. Patients will not notice a significant difference until the fresh, disease-free nail begins growing out of the nail bed. This usually takes nine to twelve months, depending on how fast a person’s nails grow. Ultimately, improvement is seen in over 70% of patients, with a total cure rate of 60-65%, which may not sound that impressive — but it is very effective, comparatively. Recurrence is common when environmental precautions are not taken into consideration.
Patients Who Should NOT Get Laser Toenail Treatment
According to Healthy Cells Magazine, the following cohorts are not good candidates for laser foot fungus removal:
– Sunburned patients: The heat from the laser may exacerbate a burn and cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
– People with Scleroderma: This autoimmune disorder often causes scarring following laser treatments.
– Skin cancer patient: Lasers may not work well in people with weakened immune systems, and could interfere with aggressive cancer therapies.
– Accutane user: Accutane is a form of vitamin A that reduces the oil secreted by the skin’s glands. Accutane users are advised to avoid any type of laser treatment for six months after cessation of the product. Otherwise, scarring may occur.
– Children: The FDA has approved the use of lasers to treat foot fungus, but only in patients over 16 years of age.
What Laser Fungus Removal Patients Must Do Next
As mentioned earlier, recurrence of onychomycosis is likely if patients do not use a shoe spray or UV shoe sanitizer to kill the fungal spores harbored in their footwear. We sprays are not ideal because they add chemicals to the shoe, and foot powders create a mess inside footwear. As great alternative solution, you can stick the SteriShoe UV light device into the shoe each evening to kill up to 99.9% of the microbes lurking within your footwear. In addition to shoes and slippers, other sources of re-contamination include towels, bed sheets, and socks.