LASER Treatment of Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis)

Toenail fungus is unsightly and can be embarrassing. It can even dictate the way you dress and what you do! Anti-fungal creams and paints are not very effective and relapse is common. Oral medications require long term treatment and are associated with significant risks and adverse effects. Advanced Laser Clinics of Shreveport offers Laser Treatment of Onychomycosis with our Nd:YAG dual wavelength Q-Switched Laser. Pain free and effective, Laser treatment of nail fungus is becoming the treatment of choice!!

About Laser Treatment of Nail Fungus

Onychomycosis is a common disorder of the nail resulting from a dermatophyte fungal infection. This condition most commonly affects toenails and, though generally asymptomatic, often adversely impacts quality of life due to the unsightly appearance. As these infections are relatively superficial on the nail one would think that treatments to eradicate the dermatophyte would be quite effective. Sadly this is not the case. The nail is relatively impenetrable to topical medications as it is a thick horn like structure formed in layers of protein and keratin. Oral medications are somewhat more effective but long term treatment is required. Additionally, oral anti-fungal medications are associated with some degree of risk, adverse effects and can be quite costly. Laser therapy for nail fungus has now come upon the scene and studies thus far have shown promising results (Hochman, 2011). Doesn’t it make more sense to treat a local infection locally rather than using medication that goes throughout the body?

Laser utilizes concentrated energy of a specific wavelength and strength to selectively penetrate target tissue and destroy it while leaving non targeted tissue unharmed. This is known as selective photothermolysis. The laser energy is absorbed by the target area generating heat that is sufficient to destroy the fungus while leaving the surrounding area unharmed and avoiding pain. Laser treatment of nail fungus has advantage over topical and oral medications: First, laser energy penetrates the nail bed to destroy the fungus specifically. Secondly, there are no systemic adverse effects as seen with oral medications. Finally, the nail can usually be cleared of fungus in 1-3 treatments spaced about 3 months apart thus eliminating the inconvenience and cost of long term therapies. One or two maintenance treatments a year may be needed to keep the nail clear.

Most studies on laser treatment of onychomycosis have been done with Neodymium yitrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) lasers utilizing 1064nm wavelengths. Additionally, short bursts (or pulses) of energy measured in microseconds are used to protect the surrounding tissue. Even better are pulses in the nanosecond range as is available with Q-Switched lasers. Advanced Laser Clinics of Shreveport utilizes a dual wavelength (1064nm and 532nm) Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser for the pain free, effective treatment of nail fungus. Call or come by for a free consultation.

Reference:

Hochman, Lisa G. “Laser treatment of onychomycosis using a novel 0.65-millisecond pulsed Nd:YAG 1064-nm laser.” Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy 13.1 Feb 2011: 2-5.