Top Five Things About Laser Nail Treatment
- Laser nail treatment refers to the use of medical grade lasers to treat onychomycosis (fungal nail infections)
- Onychomycosis affects roughly 10% of the Australian population.
- Common symptons of Onychomycosis include:
- Discoloured nails
- Distorted nail shape
- Thickening of the nail
- Brittle, crumbly or ragged nail
- Nail separation from the underlying skin
- Yellow or white streaks in the nail
- Lasers can provide localised heat to the fungus through the nail to kill it with no invasive procedures.
- Clearance rates for Laser Nail Treatment are as high as 80-90%.
Onychomycosis has been a very difficult condition to treat. Topical agents have been used and whilst safe and relatively inexpensive they are not particularly effective as they struggle to penetrate through the nail into the infected nail bed.
Prescription oral medications can be effective but have the potential to cause unpleasant side effects, particularly to the liver and gut, meaning many patients cannot or will not use them. The need for a non-invasive, safe and effective alternative treatment led to the use of laser technology.
Lasers are well known for being able to concentrate light to produce heat and certain lasers can penetrate through nails. Lasers that can deliver localised heating through the nail can kill the nail fungus.
A treatment session takes approximately 20 minutes to treat 5-10 nails. Most patients find the treatment quite comfortable and describe a warm sensation with sometimes a small hot pinch. Patients can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
The number of treatments will vary depending on how severely each nail is infected. Typically 3 treatments are necessary spaced about one month apart and then a follow up treatment after 6 months. Due to the slow rate of nail growth, improvement in nail appearance will take a number of weeks to be noticeable. Most patients see results within 8-10 weeks.
In cases of stubborn infection some patients will require further follow up treatments. There is no guarantee nail fungus will not come back because fungus is present everywhere in the environment. Clinical studies report that about 80% of all patients have sustained improvement 12 months after laser nail treatment.