Onychomycosis, or fungal infection of the nail and nail bed, is the most common of all diseases of the nails in adults, says Dr. Krista Archer, a Manhattan foot specialist. In North America, the literature indicates the incidence of onychomycosis falls roughly between 2%-13%, says Dr. Archer, but she estimates it is actually higher than that. The incidence of onychomycosis increases with age, and as many as 90% of the elderly population have fungal nails. Diabetes and a suppressed immune system are also known risk factors. While the condition is all too often regarded as merely a cosmetic problem of relatively minor importance, it often has significant negative effects on patients’ emotional, social, and occupational well-being, she says.
Dr. Archer offers her patients a new treatment, an in-office laser called the CoolTouch CT3 plus CoolBreeze, that treats discolored, thickened, fungal toenails. The laser is currently FDA cleared to treat acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles, and recently received general podiatry FDA clearance. This laser treatment has been shown to effectively treat onychomycosis in clinical and in-office trials, and uses invisible infrared beams to safely treat fungal nails with no adverse side effects.
"Before laser treatment, combinations of topical and oral antifungal medications were used to cure infected nails as part of a long and drawn-out treatment plan," says Dr. Archer. "Today, patients require about three CoolBreeze treatments averaging about two minutes per nail. The procedure is pain-free, and patients can resume their normal activities the same day. The best part for women is that they can continue to paint their toenails throughout the course of treatment."