Bass Coast Podiatry

Phone: (03) 56722 309

Laser Treatment For Fungal Nail Infections

Fungal nail disease (onychomycosis) affects up to 14% of the population. Fungi that feed on keratin, a structural protein within your nails, often causes this condition. The disease may result in pain, is contagious and results in a negative self- image.

Fungal nails normally show yellowing or white staining and as the infection develops further the nails will get thicker. Some nails become brittle and can even seperate from the nail bed. Infection can spread to other toenails easily.

Up until now, treatments for fungal nail infections are usually hit and miss. These treatments normally involve:

  • Regular debridement of nails with a Podiatrist every 8 weeks
  • Application of liquid anti fungal preparations daily
  • Surgery to remove the infected toenail
  • Strong oral medications that can cause liver damage and have other significant side effects

How Does the Nail Laser Work?

The FOX laser emits near-infrared monochromatic light at a wavelength of 1064 nm that will pass through the nail plate and into the nail bed, resulting in heating of the fungal material. Exposure of fungi to high temperatures inhibits their growth via cell damage and death. The result is an increase of clear nail.

The Nail Laser heats the nail bed enough to kill the nail fungus. The skin below the nail bed can conduct heat away as it is delivered and so while the treatment may feel hot, it will not burn your skin below or around the nail.

Research shows that the nail laser is 70 – 83% effective after a single treatment. Please read the post procedure information to ensure you get the best chance of successful results for your nails. For some cases, a second treatment will be required to ensure clear nail growth.

What Can I Expect During Treatment?

The laser light which produces the heat is moved evenly over the nail in a grid pattern. It will take 3 – 4 passes to complete the treatment to each nail, taking approximately 1 – 3 minutes per nail, a total of around 15 minutes. Even the healthy looking nails get treated. Microscopic colonies may be present on other nails and all nails on the feet will be included with the nail treatment.

Patients report a heat sensation under the nail directly underneath where the laser is passing. This is often felt more on the second or third passes. It should not be painful. If the heat gets too uncomfortable or intense, tell your laser operator and they will adjust their treatment depending on your feedback.

Benefits:

  • The treatment of onychomycosis (nail fungus) which results in healthy nail growth. This will be a permanent cure unless the nail is re-infected
  • In most cases it is only one treatment, no downtime and no application of creams or daily tablets need to be prescribed
  • You can go back to your normal daily activities and nail care following the treatment.

Risks:

  • There have been no incidences of burns or overtreatments in all clinical studies done. Laser safety procedures are followed to make this a very safe procedure. However, the laser does produce a hot light which does have the potential to cause a superficial nail or skin burn
  • There are no studies to prove the treatment is safe during pregnancy, so this contraindicates laser treatment
  • Your podiatrist will assess you individually if you have diabetes, neuropathy or decreased sensation of the toes
  • The treatment may not work for you. It may be the heat cannot penetrate through to the nail bed due to excessively thick or misshapen nails. In this case the treatment would be repeated. There is around a 15% chance that this treatment will not work for you
  • Reinfection – Please read the post procedure information to minimize the risk of reinfection.

How soon will I have clear nails?

Results are not immediate, but rather as the nail grows you will notice new, healthy growth from the nail base (epynichium). Nails grow slowly so a complete result is observed months following the procedure.

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