Laser toenail fungus removal is a rapidly growing area of onychomycosis treatment. Currently, if you have thick, yellow toenails, there aren’t a whole lot of ideal options out there. You could try an over-the-counter lacquer or a home remedy for toenail fungus…but these methods are often efforts in futility that only work for a very small fraction of the population. Furthermore, you have to apply these treatments each day for six to 12 months to see any effect at all. Or you could see your doctor and get a prescription for oral terbinafine…but there are risks to the liver, so you will have to attend appointments for frequent monitoring over the course of three months.
With few other options, it’s much more desirable to come in for one or two laser treatments (which boast impressive cure rates) and be done with the icky fungus once and for all. There are many different lasers from which to choose. We’ll examine a few things about each type of laser treatment, but they all work in much the same way and lack any negative side effects. If you decide to give a foot laser a shot, be sure to invest in the SteriShoe ultraviolet shoe sanitizer to kill residual fungus in your footwear and avoid a recurrence.
Cynosure PinPointe FootLaser
Cynosure boasts that its PinPointe FootLaser is the “first clinically-proven laser device for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis, or nail fungus.” The device has been FDA-approved since 2010. The laser passes through the nail and heats up the nail bed, thus killing the fungus. The manufacturers say their patients report a clinical success rate of 70% following just one treatment with the laser. Martine Abrahams, a podiatrist at the London Nail Laser Clinic, says she has successfully treated 2,500 patients using the PinPointe FootLaser. She likes that it only treats the affected area and leaves surrounding tissues alone.
Nomir Noveon Laser
The clinical results of the Noveon Laser by Nomir Medical Technologies, Inc. have been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA). They have just received FDA clearance for laser toenail fungus treatment this year. Their laser works by targeting tissue with two unique wavelengths of laser light, which promises “lethality at much lower power levels.” Following a 270-day clinical trial, study data suggests that infection rates dropped after the use of the Noveon laser, with 85% of the toenails showing clear improvement by 180 days and some patients reporting a full clinical cure by 270 days. “Unlike other lasers, the Noveon is effective with only three to four treatments,” says Dr. Robin Fleck of Arizona. “My patients were very disappointed with the Pinpointe laser’s results last year,” she adds. “I’ve treated all the former Pinpointe clients in my practice, and the clearance of fungus is remarkable.”
Erchonia Lunula Laser
Erchonia is a relatively new player in the laser toenail fungus removal market. Their laser can treat all ten toes at the same time in a 24-minute treatment — unlike other lasers that can only do one to five toes at once. It works by killing fungus in the nail bed using low-level laser light. The clinical trial results of the Lunula laser have been published in the medical journal Podiatry Review. In an 18-month study of 323 patients, 99% of patients reported full clearance of their fungal infections after four treatments. Four patients suffered re-infection within a year. The makers of Lunula promise “no pain” and “no temperature change in the treated area.” Study author Robert Sullivan concluded, “The data demonstrates that Lunula is effective at treating varying degrees of infection.” This laser has not yet been cleared by the FDA.
Hyperion HyperBlue 1530 Laser
The HyperBlue 1530 uses 30 watts of power to treat all 10 toes in three ten-minute sessions. You may notice marketing materials suggesting that Hyperion’s HyperBlue 1530 Laser has been granted FDA approval for the treatment of toenail fungus, but a warning letter dated November 11, 2013, suggests otherwise. Even so, professionals like Dr. Timothy Grace of Family Foot Health Center in Puyallup, Washington, have been using the multi-use diode laser to eliminate foot fungus. “With the HyperBlue laser treatment, my patients can have their fungus eliminated more safely and easier than ever before,” says Dr. Grace. One patient said she tried topical solutions, but didn’t want to try tablets that are hard on the liver. She described her HyperBlue laser nail removal as “quick and painless.”
Cutera GenesisPlus Laser
The FDA cleared the GenesisPlus laser in 2011 for the “temporary increase in clear nail in patients with onychomycosis,” which is different from saying it can actually kill nail fungus completely, according to an FDA warning letter. Cutera released a whitepaper reporting a 70% improvement rate in seven patients treated with two sessions of the GenesisPlus laser. One woman suffering from toenail fungus for a decade said she went through three rounds of expensive oral treatment that did not work for her; the GenesisPlus laser ultimately cured her fungus issue and was “easier than a pedicure,” she said.
Don’t Forget: Treat the Shoes to Prevent Future Toenail Fungus
Unfortunately, laser toenail fungus treatment is still relatively expensive and still not covered by medical insurance providers. More clinical studies and peer-reviewed research are needed to validate the effectiveness of foot lasers in the treatment of onychomycosis. As we’ve noticed from many FDA warning letters, the makers of toenail lasers are quick to make fanciful claims, but slow to release valid clinical data.
We feel lasers can be part of a well-rounded solution to toenail fungus. Obviously, lasers are the easiest method of treatment that requires the least amount of patient compliance. Keep in mind that it’s important to practice proper foot hygiene, including the use of an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer, to prevent recurrence of nail fungus. Try a high-tech ultraviolet shoe sanitizer risk-free.