Nail Fungal Infection
Treatment Of Onychomycosis With Laser: Laser treatment is a treatment for toenail fungal infection (onychomycosis), an infection that is difficult to treat and changes the shape and appearance of the nail.
There are several types of laser treatment options, including the use of light.
And options that use carbon dioxide (CO2).
Laser therapy is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this use.
Fungal infections of the nails usually require several sessions of laser treatment before complete removal.
For laser treatment to be effective, continuous treatment may take between six and 18 months.
Although these treatments may cause side effects such as pain and bleeding around, they are safe.
How it works?
Laser devices emit energy pulses that generate heat.
When used to treat onychomycosis, the laser is directed to allow heat to penetrate through the toenail into the nail bed where the fungus is located.
For this type of treatment, CO2 lasers or (YAG) lasers with wavelengths of 870 nm, 930 nm or 1320 nm are used to increase the temperature for typical treatment.
In response to heat, the infected tissue is bitten and decomposed, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nails.
Laser heat also has an antiseptic effect, which helps prevent the growth of new fungi.
When the laser is aimed at the area of infection, the heat generated prevents the fungus from growing and kills it.
When used safely, laser therapy does not have enough energy to kill all tissues or all infections.
For this reason, repeat treatment is usually required.
Fungal growth is inhibited and some fungal microorganisms are killed, but since the infection can survive to some extent after treatment, it is unlikely that you will fully recover with just one session.
Several laser devices have been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of onychomycosis, including PinPointe, Footlaser, GenesisPlus and Noveon.
According to the approval criteria, these devices may cause a “temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis.”
With laser treatment, most people experience a noticeable improvement and there is also a high rate of improvement.
One study showed 61% cure rate at 16 weeks.
Another study showed 91% clinical improvement and 30% improvement in 180 days.
Laser treatment is associated with a high rate of negative cultures, this means that a laboratory microscopic test for a fungal infection typically shows no evidence of infection after treatment.
Onychomycosis treatment is considered effective when the symptoms of the infection go away and there is no evidence of fungus on the cultured specimens of the toe or the surrounding skin.
Laser treatment compared to other options
Laser treatments are usually more effective than other treatments for Onychomycosis.
This infection can be treated with topical antifungal drugs (on the skin) or oral antifungals, and there are over-the-counter and over-the-counter options.
Oral antifungals cause systemic side effects and are not completely effective in improving Onychomycosis. Topical treatments are safe, but not very effective.
What is expected?
Initial advice for laser treatment of onychomycosis includes symptom evaluation.
Onychomycosis is usually diagnosed based on the appearance of the nail, but a sample may be taken under a microscope if necessary.
Your treatment will be done by a doctor, who may be a dermatologist, family doctor or foot specialist.
You may also have a cut on the day of the laser or a few days before, in which your toenails are cut and dead skin is cleaned.
Just before the operation, your foot is cleaned with a sterile solution and placed in an accessible position to guide the laser.
The laser is maneuvered on any damaged nail and even if you are worried about a fungal infection, it may be used on undamaged nails.
Shaking the laser or using selected wavelengths helps minimize heat on the skin, which reduces the risk of side effects.
A session typically lasts 30 minutes or less.
With tissue breakdown, pain and bleeding may occur, but the skin will heal within a few days.
Your doctor will explain how to keep your big toe clean and dry.
Symptoms of improvement
While some people treat the infection with one treatment method, additional sessions may be prescribed depending on the results.
Even with effective treatments, the infected nail is not expected to clear immediately – it may take up to 12 months for the nail to grow to determine if the treatment has been successful.
Signs of improvement include:
- Disappearance of yellow, white or brown discoloration of damaged toenails or toes.
- Separation of scaly remnants under or on the nail.
- Recovery of onycholysis is the separation of the nail from the nail below.
Onycholysis is characterized by a spontaneous separation of the nail plate starting at the distal free margin and progressing proximally.
In onycholysis, the nail plate is separated from the underlying and lateral supporting structures.
- The natural shape and texture of new nail growth without the thickness, bulge or deformation of the nail.