Nail fungus producing unsightly nails is one of the most common health issues faced by people, especially those who reside in hot, humid climate zones. Previous therapies for fungal nails including surgical excision, oral medication, and application of prescription and over-the-counter medication to the nails have produced marginal results, and some have produced undesirable side effects such as post-operative pain and disability, liver damage, and ineffective results. Laser treatment kills the underlying pathogens that cause nail fungus. This effective laser light works through the nail. It is safe, painless, and has no side effects like surgery or oral medications.
Fungal infection of the toenail is also known as onychomycosis. Just like any other infection (bacterial or viral), is important that the condition be treated so as not to lead to more serious complications, especially in the diabetic. The disease is characterized by a change in nail color, thickening of the nail, debris under the toenail, a lifting of the leading edge of the nail, and a foul odor. Patients complain that toenail fungus is ugly and embarrassing. This condition is often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain. If ignored, the infection can spread to other toenails, the skin on the feet (athletes foot), and even the fingernails. Severe cases can impair one's ability to walk or lead to painful ingrown toenails. Secondary bacterial infections may occur on or around the toenail plate.
Contributing factors for developing nail fungus infection include a history of athlete's foot, injury to the nail bed, sports/shoe trauma, excessive perspiration, diabetes, circulatory problems, and immune-deficiency conditions.
When treating nails with the near-infared diode laser, the laser kills the fungus that lives in and under the toenail. During the treatment there is a gentle warming sensation. This walk in and walk out treatment takes only 15 minutes and nail polish can be worn immediately after the treatment. The device operates at physiological temperatures that are thermally safe for human tissue. The 1064 nm wavelength has unique photolethal effects on fungal pathogens. This wavelength is also safe and does not present a danger to normal tissues like ultraviolet light.
In clinical use, most of the time only one treatment is needed, and the nails are photographed, cultured, and evaluated in 6-8 weeks. Total cosmetic results occur gradually as the new nail grows out.