Patients have benefited significantly from the use of lasers. Specifically within dermatology, advances in laser technology have allowed the development of lasers to target fungal cells. Fungus is contained within the nail complex and the lasers are able to target these fungal cells directly without the risks involved when oral medication is taken or the long period of time required when applying topical medicines that aren’t able to penetrate to the nail bed.
Before the treatment
- Remove nail polish and clean toes/fingers
- Remove or cover any jewelry (including toe rings)
- Clean all nails thoroughly
- Shave the treatment area if there is excessive hair
- Topical anesthetic should not be used as patient feedback is required
- Nail may be notched with a file to assess growth of clear nail
- Pre-treatment photographs should be taken prior to the initial treatment for future reference
- Safety eyewear must be worn by ALL people in the treatment room
- Recommend that laser operator follow Universal Precautions (gloves, masks, etc.)
- Smoke Evacuator and/or laser plume masks filtered to 0.1 microns are optional during laser treatment
The treatment is usually performed at weekly or fortnightly intervals and each treatment session takes about 30 minutes to complete. Unlike anti-fungal drugs there are no dangerous side effects and the level of discomfort is normally quite low. The pulse profile, speed and power of our lasers allows for the patient’s nails to be treated quickly. Unparalleled speed of the laser nail clinic treatment makes the procedure convenient for the patient.
The typical procedure can be performed in three simple steps:
Stpe 1 We file down the Nail. The fungus can cause the nail to become deformed and overgrown, it may also thicken. Filing down the nail allows laser light to fully penetrate into the treatment site.
Stpe 2 We then administer the laser pulses in a circular pattern covering the entire nail. Slightly overlap the beam so that the nail is fully covered. The patient should feel a slight heating sensation throughout the nail.
Stpe 3 We target laser pulses around the perimeter of the nail bed and around the finger or toe. Often parasitic fungus has worked its way beyond the nail bed and needs to be eliminated in the tissue surrounding the nail to prevent recurrence.
Post-Operative Care – To help prevent re-infection:
- Wear clean shoes/socks home after treatment
- Wash sheets, disinfect shower/bath and vacuum carpets day of treatment
- Apply anti-fungal cream 2X per day for approximately 2 weeks to 3+ months depending severity of the infection
- Apply anti-fungal powder to all shoes at least 1x per week for at least 1+ month
- Keep nails trimmed and cleaned (disinfecting instruments after each use)
- Do not walk barefoot in public places (pool, gym, etc.) Nail polish may be applied 24 hours after treatment
- Number of treatments will depend on severity of the Onychomycosis / Toenail Fungus
- The average time interval between treatments is 4-6 weeks
- Due to slow nail growth, results may not be noticeable for 3+ months
- Toenails may take 9-12+ months and fingernails may take 6-9+ months to grow out
- Severely infected nails may take longer
- If a blister develops, treat as a wound
- Cold gel packs or cool compresses may be applied post-treatment on hot spots