Nail & Skin Disorders

Laser Fungal Treatment Twice as Effective as Pills

The new treatment for fungal nails is not only safe, but it’s proving much more effective than the currently available oral antifungal medications, which may have side effects. Introduced in 2008, the treatment involves a small laser beam that is moved over the surface area of the toenail, instantly killing the fungal spores in the nail bed while leaving healthy tissues intact.

 

The new treatment for fungal nails is not only safe, but it’s proving much more effective than the currently available oral antifungal medications, which may have side effects. Introduced in 2008, the treatment involves a small laser beam that is moved over the surface area of the toenail, instantly killing the fungal spores in the nail bed while leaving healthy tissues intact.

Podiatrist Tracey Toback, who practices in New York’s Hudson Valley, says those who get treatments for fungal nails are usually embarrassed of their condition. However, for people with health problems, toenail fungus can lead to serious complications if untreated.

The 88% effectiveness of the laser procedure is much higher than other topical treatments (8% effective) and pills (40%-50% effective), according to Dr. Toback. In addition, the most commonly prescribed pill used to treat toenail fungus can cause liver damage, and the patient needs constant monitoring while undergoing treatment.

 

In contrast, Dr. Toback says of the laser treatment, “The way you leave is the way you come in,” stressing that there is no injection or preparation needed for the treatment. Using the Patholase PinPointe Footlaser, he says treating both feet takes only 30 minutes, and it’s a one-time procedure. Patients can expect to see results in six to 12 months as a new, healthy nail grows in.

The main disadvantage of the treatment is its cost. The average price for all 10 toes is $1,000, and insurance companies won’t cover it, deeming it a cosmetic procedure. Some podiatrists will work on only one nail if it’s the only one infected, while others insist on treating all toes to prevent recurring fungal growth. In addition, according to Manhattan-based podiatrist Johanna Youner, the procedure may cause discomfort to some, and anesthesia cannot be used.

Keywords:   fungus     nail diseases  

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