Onychomycosis is the medical term for nail fungus infection. It is the most common nail disorder and makes up nearly 50% of all toenail problems. This condition affects both toenails and fingernails, however toenail infections are far more common. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, onychomycosis affects 12% of all Americans. In fact in South Florida we find the rate of infection higher than any other part of the country. So, as embarrassing as this can be, if you suffer from this unsightly growth, you are certainly not alone.
Some people are genetically prone to it. Others, including swimmers and other athletes, may be more likely to get it because they go barefoot in public areas or because their feet are often damp, scientists say. In its mild forms, nail fungus is merely a cosmetic problem, but over time it can cause toenails to grow abnormally and become painful when walking.
The symptoms of toenail fungus are the nail plate having a thickened, yellow, or cloudy appearance. The toenails may become rough, ragged, brittle and possibly crumble, or separate from the nail bed, clinically known as onycholysis. When the infection is severe, nails can be distorted in shape or display a dark color caused by buildup of debris under the nail.
The FDA has recently approved a non-invasive laser treatment for toe fungus. This pain free treatment, using laser, has proven to have a better success rate than Lamisil® in eliminating the fungus.
The procedure requires one or a small number of safe, quick treatments with little or no discomfort and is performed as an outpatient service with no anesthesia. The gentle laser light beam has no effect on healthy tissue and treats only the infected area. No drugs or topical ointments are used, eliminating the total-body side effects of traditional oral medications.
Clinical studies show that Laser Procedure kills the fungus and promotes clear nail growth with a single treatment in more than 88% of cases. The procedure is safe, effective and most patients improve after their first treatment.
Generally there are no health or age restrictions with laser toenail fungus treatments. In most clinical studies there were no bad reactions, contraindications or side effects involving laser toenail fungus treatment Medication that are used for fungal infection carries the possibility of kidney failure, lasers toenail fungus treatment does not.
What does the treatment involve?
The treatment involves passing the laser beam over the infected nails and surrounding skin. Your physician will repeat this several times until enough energy has reached the nail bed. Your nail will feel warm during the treatment. The focused, targeted laser light beam will have no effect on healthy tissue, and will only target the infected areas. A patient undergoing laser nail treatment for fungus removal procedures should experience no discomfort during or after the treatment.
Does toenail fungus laser treatment really work?
Clinical studies to date reveal that over 80% of treated patients show significant improvement when using certain types of lasers. In most cases the nail fungus pathogen is completely eliminated.
Will I be able to walk after laser toenail fungus treatment?
You will be able to walk out of the office just as well as you walked in, you might even have a smile on your face. The laser toenail fungus treatment will not harm you in any way. Toenails are dead cells, the laser targets living fungus inside the nail.
Does my insurance pay for this?
Currently the laser toenail fungus procedure is not included as a health insurance benefit in any plan that we know of; however, the initial foot consultation is free. Insurance plans will consider the laser toenail fungus treatment a cosmetic / aesthetic procedure and therefore does not provide coverage.