Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is known to affect approximately 10% of the US population, or 35 million people. the nail laser has shown great promise in getting rid of the fungus with no side effects and greater effectiveness.
Due to the nature of the infection, nail fungus has been difficult to treat because of the natural barrier that the nail plate itself provides to the fungus. so far, the only proven treatments for nail fungus have been nail polishes and oral medications, neither of which is 100% effective. With the advent of the new nail laser technology, there is now a third viable option to treat this pesky infection. It works by generating heat which penetrates the nail plate and instantly kills the fungi. the treatment is usually done in the office without any need for anesthesia and pain is minimal to nonexistent.although protocols vary, a follow up treatment is usually scheduled at some point after the initial treatment to ensure complete eradication of the fungal organisms.
Overall, laser treatment is safer than oral medications, more effective than topical polishes and less painful than nail removal. some studies cite the success rate as high as 88% using the laser for onychomycosis. in my experience, the figures from the studies are accurate. Using the laser in combination with a nail lacquer improves the overall success rate. Despite getting rid of the fungus intitially, there is always the possiblity of reinfection. Therefore, once the nails are clear, a preventative regimen must be initiated, such as topical antifungal polish once a week. this will greatly reduce the chances of re-infection.
While there is still no definitive cure for onychomycosis, new laser technology has shown a significant improvement over the current therapies available. Used in conjunction with a topical antifungal polish, it is arguably the most effective treatment available in the battle against onychomycosis.
Dr. Marco a Vargas is a board certified podiatric surgeon specializing in the treatment of bunions, heel pain, sports injuries and nail fungus. he has offices in Sugar Land and Richmond, TX. for more information on his practice, visit www.thefootpros.com or order your free copy of his book on foot health, “got Foot Pain?” also available on his website
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