Is using a laser to treat nail fungus a new procedure?
Lasers have been used extensively for the past 7-10 years for the treatment of nail fungus, resulting in numerous clinical studies. Laser manufacturers have used these results over the years to learn how to better design their equipment, enabling them to maximize therapeutic effects. The Fox Diode Laser, designed and manufactured in Germany, is the latest generation of laser designed specifically for nail fungus therapy. The Fox Diode laser has been used successfully in Germany and Europe for over two years and received Health Canada approval for therapeutic treatment of nail fungus in November 2012. We considered it the most advanced laser for the treatment of nail fungus.
Is there clinical evidence to prove that laser treatment cures nail fungus?
Today there is significant clinical evidence to prove beyond any doubt that laser treatment dramatically improves the condition of even a severely infected toenail. As an example, in a recent study conducted on 72 patients over 3 months, follow-up showed that over 90% of the patients were cleared of all fungal infections.
How soon will I be able to see improvement to my toenails or fingernails after treatment?
It usually depends on the origin of the fungal infection. If it was at the “root” of the nail, improvement can be seen as early as 3 weeks. A continuous improvement will be gradual as the nail continue to grow out. Typically, a significant overall improvement will be seen after 3 months. As a rough estimate, toenails may take 9 – 12 months to grow out completely, and fingernails may take 6 – 9 months.
What are the benefits of using laser treatment over drug treatment?
Oral anti-fungal medications are toxic, and may cause serious medical complications. As a result, clients that are taking these medications are asked to go through routine blood tests to make sure their liver is not damaged during the treatment.
A laser treatment is completely drug free, meaning it does not impose all the health risks associated with the oral anti-fungal medications. There are no adverse reactions, injuries, or known side effects from use of lasers to treat a toenail fungus infection.
How does laser treatment compare to drug treatment in terms of its success rate?
Recent studies showed over 90% success rates using the latest generation of laser equipment, done over a 3 month period.
Extending the treatment with additional 3 months cured more than 95% of patients.
Common systemic antimycotics drugs, that are used over a period of several months are known to have cure rates of only 40 to 80%.
How long does the treatment take?
The treatment takes approximately 15 – 20 minutes per foot.
How many sessions will be needed?
To achieve optimal results, we recommend a series of 3 – 4 treatment sessions, spaced 5 – 6 weeks apart. This is essential to eradicate all fungi spores that may bloom after your initial treatment. However, significant improvement is usually seen after one treatment.
Does the treatment require special preparation?
Your nails must be free of any nail polish or coatings. Trim nails and clean as well as possible. After evaluating the condition of your nails, your technician may use a common file to gently prepare the nail surface.
Is the treatment painful?
No. The treatment will not cause any pain. You will feel the area under the nail heat up but not to an uncomfortable degree. Your technician can pause the treatment at any time should you become intolerably uncomfortable.
What are the possible side effects of laser nail fungus therapy?
Most clients experience no side effects other than a feeling of warmth during treatment and a mild warming sensation after treatment. However, possible side effects may include a feeling of warmth and/or slight pain during treatment, redness of the treated skin around the nail lasting 24 – 72 hours, slight swelling of the treated skin around the nail lasting 24 – 72 hours, discoloration or burn marks may occur on the nail. In very rare cases, blistering of the treated skin around the nail and scarring of the treated skin around the nail may occur.
If I have only one infected nail, can I treat only that one and save time and cost?
Unfortunately, no. The reason for this is that if one of your nails is infected, the chances are that your other nails are infected as well. To allow the treatment to be successful and prevent future self infections, it is best to treat all the nails at once. An exception to this is for the treatment of an isolated fungal infection related to acrylic nail air pockets. In these incidences, we will treat the one affected finger nail.
Will the laser cause changes to the nail color after it is cured?
No. Your nail should grow in clear and healthy with no remaining fungal related discoloration.
How can I avoid re-infection after treatment?
Careful steps must be taken to avoid re-infection such as:
- Treat shoes & skin with anti-fungal agents.
- Apply anti-fungal creams to and between toes.
- Use a anti-fungal powder if your feet sweat excessively.
- Bring clean socks and a change of shoes to wear after treatment.
- Keep your nails trimmed and clean.
- Sanitize stainless nail instruments by boiling in water for minimum 15 minutes.
- Avoid salons where equipment and instruments not properly sanitized.
- Wear flip flops in public places.
- Avoid wearing the same pair of socks and footwear on consecutive days.
- Kill fungus on footwear by placing it in a sealed plastic bag into deep freeze for 2 days.