Fungal Nail Laser Surgery
Fungal nail laser surgery is a treatment for toenail fungus infection (onychomycosis), a hard to treat infection that changes the appearance and texture of the nail. Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an unsightly condition that causes nails to become yellow/white or black, odorous and thick. It is contagious and may come from athlete’s feet that affects the skin, and thrives in hot, moist environments like your shoes. Fungal infections of the nails usually require several laser treatment sessions before they completely resolve. It may take between six and 18 months of consistent treatments for laser surgery to be effective.
How Does The Fungal Nail Laser Surgery Procedure Work?
An initial consultation for laser treatment of onychomycosis involves an evaluation of symptoms. Typically, onychomycosis is diagnosed based on the appearance of the nail. Your treatment will be administered by a Chiropodist. During each and every appointment, we will drill and clean up your nails for treatment as the thinner your nail is, the easier it is for the laser to penetrate the nail bed. Our Chiropodist takes the time in prepping your nail by drilling, cutting back, and clearing the sulci, for treatment. We will then apply the pain-free laser to your affected toenails which passes through the nail and is absorbed by pigment in the fungi.
For this type of treatment, in response to the heat, the infected tissue is gasified and decomposed, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nail. The heat from the lasers also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth. Once the pigment heats up, the heat penetrate through the toenail to the nail bed where the fungus is present. It kills or damages the fungus resulting in your nail growing normally. When the laser is targeted to the area of infection, the heat that’s produced inhibits the growth of the fungus and destroys it.
When used safely, laser treatment doesn’t emit enough energy to destroy all the tissue—or all of the infection. For that reason, repeat treatment is typically needed. The fungal growth is inhibited and some of the fungal microorganisms are destroyed, but since the infection can partially survive the treatment, it’s unlikely that you will be completely cured with just one session.
Once your first session is completed, you will be discharged with some home medications such as antifungal creams or oils should you wish to use them to further increase the chances of improvement for your fungal nail condition. We also highly recommend our Sterishoe device that uses UV light technology to destroy up to 99.9% of the microorganisms in shoes, including the bacteria and fungi that cause toenail fungus, athlete’s feet and foot odour.
Is The Treatment Effective?
YAG 1064 nm laser machine is approved by the FDA for the treatment of fungal nails (onychomycosis). With laser surgery, most people experience noticeable improvement, and there is a high cure rate as well. This laser machine features different settings and protocols we use and adjust for each unique patient, depending on the outcomes of prior treatments. As such, we have proven results that have led to many satisfied customers.
Laser Treatment VS. Other Options
Laser treatments are typically more effective than other ways of treating fungal nails (onychomycosis). This infection can be treated with topical (on the skin) antifungal medications or oral antifungals, and there are over-the-counter, as well as prescription options. Oral antifungals cause systemic side effects and are not totally effective for curing onychomycosis. Topical treatments tend to be safe, but are not very effective.
In the past, it has been extremely difficult to treat conservatively as it is difficult for topical antifungal agents to penetrate a thick nail, patient compliance is usually lacking as these medications need to be applied daily, and there are different antifungal medications for different fungal spores. Oral medications yield better results but again compliance is a key factor, and there are major side effects to these medications. However, with our laser fungal nail machine YAG 1064 nm, we do all the work. Furthermore, clinical studies have reported no adverse side effects from using our laser machine, and the majority of patients will experience improvement.
Signs of Improvement
While some people experience resolution of the infection with a single treatment, additional sessions may be prescribed depending on the results. Even effective treatments are not expected to clear an infected nail immediately—it may take up 12 months until the nail grows out before you can tell whether the treatment has been successful.7
Signs of improvement include:
- The disappearance of yellow, white, or brown discoloration of the affected toenail or toenails
- Resolution of flaky debris under or on the nail
- Recovery of onycholysis, which is detachment of the nail from the nail bed below
- Normal shape and texture of new nail growth with no more thickness, bumps, or altered nail shape
Is The Fungal Nail Laser Surgery Procedure Covered By My Insurance?
This procedure may be covered by your Extended Health Insurance Plan. After your consultation, we can provide you with a pre-estimate request that you can submit to your insurance provider to determine eligibility. Patients with flexible spending account can often use these funds towards procedures such as the laser wart treatment. OHIP does not cover the cost of this procedure.