Fungal nail disease, medically referred to as onychomycosis, affects up to 14% of the adult population. Fungi that feed on keratin, a structural protein within your nails, frequently cause the condition. Fungal colonies proliferate in moist environments and invade the nail bed by penetrating
the margins of the nail. Fungal nail disease may result in pain, impair the ability to walk and contribute to a negative self image. Some prescription medications have side effects and therefore are not always the best treatment option. Another option is surgery to remove the nail; this is not a popular
option either. Laser therapy to treat the disease is gaining popularity as a means to achieve an increase in clear nails.
Is the Procedure Painful?
During the laser treatment, a laser beam will be slowly directed across the nail bed. The laser beam will generate heat beneath the nail and within the underlying fungal colony. You will feel a warm sensation during the procedure which lasts a few minutes per toenail. There may be a slight pain sensation as a result of the heating effect of the laser treatment.
How soon will I have clear nails?
As nails grow slowly you will not see a result immediately, but a gradual growth of clear nail will appear over several weeks and months.
Only a laser can penetrate the nail with the required effect.
How is laser different to other treatments?
Laser therapy has one specific advantage in successfully treating fungal toenail infections that other treatments lack. It is able to penetrate the nail safely to get to the damaging fungal colonies that live in and under the toenail. The infrared laser damages the fungi’s metabolism, so it is no longer able to digest the nail’s keratin protein. The infrared laser also causes a rise in white blood cells count in the capillaries, at the nail bed. This helps to further isolate and attack the fungi.
The investigator concluded that laser therapy was safe, well tolerated and very effective in promoting the growth of clear nails in patients with onychomycosis with significant improvement 2 months after initial treatment. Results showed 70-80% success rate.
What else do I need to know?
- The procedure is safe
- No anesthesia is required
- There are no side effects
- There is no visible harm to the treated nail or adjacent skin
- Socks and shoes can be worn immediately after the procedure
- Nail polish can be applied after treatment
- There is no ‘recovery’ period after the procedure
- The procedure is done by a podiatrist with laser training and accreditation.
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