"Shine a Light on Toenail Fungus: The Benefits of Laser Treatment for Onychomycosis"
Updated: Feb 4
Are you struggling with persistent and recurrent toenail or fingernail fungal infections? With the increasing popularity of unregulated nail salons, it's not uncommon to develop a fungal infection after a manicure or pedicure. However, toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, can be caused by a variety of different types of fungi, including dermatophytes, yeasts, and moulds. These fungi can infect the toenails through small cuts or breaks in the skin or by separating the nail from the nail bed. As the infection spreads, it can cause the nail to become distorted, discoloured and even lift from the nail bed. Other contributing factors to the development of toenail fungus include age, exposure to warm and humid environments, prolonged use of nail polish, and exposure to certain chemicals or irritants.
When over the counter topical treatments don't work! Traditionally, onychomycosis, or toenail fungus, has been treated with a variety of methods including topical and oral antifungal medications. Topical medications are applied directly to the infected nail and surrounding skin, while oral medications are taken by mouth. These medications work by killing the fungus and stopping its growth. Another traditional method for treating onychomycosis is nail removal, also known as debridement. This involves removing the infected part of the nail in order to allow antifungal medications to penetrate the nail bed more effectively. Fungicides, or chemical agents that kill fungi, are also used topically as a treatment option. However, these traditional treatment options can have various side effects, such as skin irritation, allergic reactions, and drug interactions. Moreover, these treatments may not be effective for everyone, as the fungus can develop resistance to certain medications over time. Additionally, oral antifungal medications, can have negative effect on liver function, and can interact with other medications. These traditional methods of treatment can be time-consuming and may require several months of treatment before the infected nails start to show improvement.
Laser treatment for onychomycosis
Laser treatments is a relatively new and innovative approach to treating this condition, its a non-invasive, pain-free option that has been found to be highly effective in treating this condition. The laser light penetrates the nail plate and heats up the fungus, destroying it without harming the surrounding healthy tissue.
Why should you consider laser therapy as a treatment option for onychomycosis?
High effectiveness: Laser treatment has been shown to be highly effective in treating onychomycosis, with some studies reporting cure rates of over 80%.
Non-invasive: Laser treatment is non-invasive, meaning it does not involve any cutting or removal of the nail.
Fast treatment time: The treatment time for laser therapy is relatively short, usually taking around 20 minutes per session.
Fewer side effects: Laser treatment has fewer side effects compared to oral antifungal medications, which can have negative effects on liver function and can interact with other medications.
Minimal pain: The laser procedure is usually painless and there is minimal discomfort during and after the treatment.
No recovery time: Unlike surgical procedures, laser treatment does not require any recovery time and patients can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure.
No drug interactions: Unlike oral medications, laser treatment does not interact with other medications.
Can be used in combination with other treatments: laser therapy can be combined with topical or oral antifungal medications to enhance the effectiveness of treatment.
What should I expect during my first laser treatment session for onychomycosis?
The procedure for treating onychomycosis with an Nd:YAG laser typically involves the following steps:
Consultation: The first step is to schedule a consultation with a qualified laser practitioner who is trained in treating onychomycosis. During this consultation, the practitioner will examine your nails and discuss your medical history to determine if laser treatment is an appropriate option for you.
Preparation: Before the treatment, the affected nails should be trimmed and cleaned to ensure that the laser light can reach the fungus.
Treatment: The treatment itself typically takes only a few minutes per toe. During the treatment, the laser light is directed at the affected nails to destroy the fungus. The laser light penetrates the nail plate and heats up the fungus, destroying it without harming the surrounding healthy tissue.
Post-treatment care: After the treatment, the healthcare professional may provide you with instructions for post-treatment care, such as keeping the treated area clean and dry.
Follow-up: The practitioner will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and determine if additional treatment is needed. Generally a series of six treatments are required once per week with a follow up treatment within 1 - 3 months.
It is important to note that the Nd:YAG laser treatment is not a one-time treatment and may require several sessions for optimal results. Also, the procedure may cause some discomfort or a heat sensation during the treatment.
After a laser treatment for onychomycosis
Keep the treated area clean and dry to prevent any further infection. Avoid going barefoot in communal areas, and make sure you wear clean, dry socks and shoes.
Avoid using nail polish or other chemicals on the treated nails for several days after treatment.
Avoid picking or pulling at the nail to prevent any damage to the newly treated area.
Follow up with your laser practitioner for any additional treatment or evaluation.
Avoid exposing the treated area to water, such as by swimming or taking a bath, for at least 48 hours after the treatment.
Continue to apply any prescribed any topical antifungal cream or ointment, make sure to apply as directed.
So if you or someone you know is struggling with toenail fungus, laser treatments may be an the solution. Book for in today for your free consultation and get ready to say goodbye to unsightly and uncomfortable toenail fungus for good!
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Author: Deborah Allen
17th January 2023