Until recently, no treatment for nail fungus has clearly distinguished itself as the “gold standard”
due to less than optimal results and potentially harmful side effects. However, with the implementation of the laser for fungal toenail treatment, it has quickly emerged as the most effective and least harmful option for curing toenail fungus. Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that causes the nails to grow thick, discolored and brittle.
It is usually seen in the nails of the feet because of the heat, humidity and darkness produced by the shoe, which happens to be the optimal environment for fungal growth. Nail fungus is not just a cosmetic problem as it can cause painful ingrown toenails due to deformity of the nail plate as a result of the fungal penetration. It can also cause bacterial infection due to physical trauma to the surrounding toes from the large, thick nail plate. Finally, it can cause pain from shoe pressure due to the thickness of the nail.
Here are 5 things that you should know about laser treatment for fungal toenails…
1. It Is 85% – 90% Effective – While the laser for fungal toenails is the best treatment option available at this time, it is not 100% effective. In a few of the most severe cases, it may be necessary to implement alternative treatment options such as permanent removal of the nail. That is why it is important to have it treated as soon as it is noticed.
2. It Is Not Painful and Does Not Require Anesthesia – Laser treatment for fungal toenails is performed in the office and usually lasts 20-30 minutes. No anesthesia is required as it does not cause pain and patients put their shoes on and go about the rest of their day with no aftercare needed.
3. One Treatment Is Usually Enough – In over 90% of the cases, one laser treatment is enough to eliminate the problem; however, in some of the more stubborn cases it is sometimes necessary to repeat treatment once or twice more to completely eradicate the fungus.
4. Nail Fungus Can Come Back – Even though the laser may have completely eliminated the fungus, it can always come back, just like the common cold or any other type of infection. However, with continued weekly application of a topical antifungal polish for protection re-infection is unlikely.
5. Results Are Not Immediate – Even though the fungus is dead immediately following the laser nail treatment, the toenail’s appearance will not change at all for some time. It takes about 6-9 months for the nail to grow out completely and return to a normal, healthy looking nail. However, there is a cosmetic restoration procedure performed in the office directly over the existing nail to immediately return a healthy looking appearance to the nail. As the cosmetic nail grows out, the new healthy nail grows in with no obvious change in appearance. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and is painless.
When considering laser treatment for fungal toenails, it is important to evaluate all options based on the severity of the case. However, the sooner it is treated, the better the results will be. Schedule an appointment online with Dr. Marco Vargas and see if Laser Therapy is right for you!