What Is Laser Toenail Fungus Removal
Laser treatment for toenail fungus wasnt approved by the FDA until 2010, and since then, it has grown rapidly as a common practice.
The appeal of this solution comes in the concept and possibilities the laser treatment provides. The lasers are able to heat and destroy selective toenail fungi, while leaving the remaining tissue of the surrounding area unaffected.
This not only rids you of the initial problem, but ensures your toe can recover smoothly, without a traumatic healing process. No excess dead skin and no wounds, like other treatments or surgeries may cause just fixing the issue and healing the damage already done.
Additionally, since fungus has the risk of spreading to anything it touches, and hiding in tight places, the laser works by killing it everywhere with minimal contact, so it cant spread.
During most procedures, patients dont have to undergo any sedatives, and instead remain fully aware during the process. No need to clear your schedule it can be a day-trip to the doctors office.
For the most part, patients are able to walk away from the procedure completely fine, only experiencing perhaps a bit of tenderness. Theres no recovery period necessary, though these things are based on the severity of the condition and the opinion of your healthcare provider.
What Types Of Treatments Are Available For Toenail Fungus
Until recently, toenail fungus treatment had been limited to topical anti-fungal creams/nail lacquer and oral medication. With limited success and many downsides, these treatments have become secondary to the more effective laser treatments.
The antifungal cream/lacquer has the lowest success rate, ranging from 5-12% . Unless you have extremely mild toenail fungus, topical treatments are very unlikely to effectively penetrate into, underneath, and around the affected toenail.
Prescribed oral medications work somewhat better . Howeverand this is big, however oral antifungal medications have significant medical risks and often interreact with other prescription drugs. Oral medications should not be prescribed without consulting a primary care physician, in order to ensure safety and protection during the months you would be taking these pills.
Side effects might include liver failure, rash, loss of taste, or change of taste , headaches, stomach discomfort, and lupus-like symptoms.
Topical medications require daily applications for at least a year, and often longer. Even then, a lifetime of application on some level is required to prevent a recurrence. Oral medications, similarly, require several months of pills and are usually associated with recurrence at some point afterward.
Studies show the success in clearing fungal infection through laser treatment was good enough for laser treatment to be FDA cleared and is now considered the ideal method to treat onychomycosis.
Why Choose University Foot And Ankle Institute For Your Foot And Ankle Care
The physicians of University Foot and Ankle Institute have decades of successful experience diagnosing and treating toenail fungus. Our nationally recognized foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in the research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 736-6001 or visit us here to make an appointment online.
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Laser Treatment For Toenail Fungus: Cost
There is a huge difference in price between laser treatment by a professional in a clinic and the price to buy a laser device for home use.
The cost varies depending on the number of nails involved and severity of the infection, with the national average cost for laser treatment varying from anywhere between $500 to $1200, which wont be covered by medical insurance as it is considered a cosmetic treatment.
That said, most professional laser toenail fungus treatment is effective after just one session.
Laser devices for toenail fungus treatment at home cost roughly $150 to $300 significantly less than a clinical laser treatment but they are less effective and it may take daily sessions over a period of 3 to 6 months to successfully eradicate all traces of fungus and spores.
Of course, the big positive is that at the end of the home treatment you will be able to reuse the DIY laser at any time should the fungus reappear, and it can also be used by family members or friends.
Things You Should Know About Laser Treatment For Nail Fungus
Until recently, no treatment for nail fungus has clearly distinguished itself as the gold standarddue to less than optimal results and potentially harmful side effects. However, with the implementation of the laser for fungal toenail treatment, it has quickly emerged as the most effective and least harmful option for curing toenail fungus. Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that causes the nails to grow thick, discolored and brittle.
It is usually seen in the nails of the feet because of the heat, humidity and darkness produced by the shoe, which happens to be the optimal environment for fungal growth. Nail fungus is not just a cosmetic problem as it can cause painful ingrown toenails due to deformity of the nail plate as a result of the fungal penetration. It can also cause bacterial infection due to physical trauma to the surrounding toes from the large, thick nail plate. Finally, it can cause pain from shoe pressure due to the thickness of the nail.
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How Long Does The Procedure Take
The amount of time varies on the degree of involvement of the nails. Very thick nails are mechanically reduced to a more normal thickness with specialized equipment. The laser is then applied typically taking only a few minutes. Overall, a visit for consultation and treatment will usually take about 30 minutes.
How Do They Work
These at-home products use something called pulse laser or low-level laser therapy, it is also sometimes referred to as cold laser since the low levels of light are not enough to heat your bodys tissue. These products that treat fungus are mostly a combination of pulse laser radiation and blue light energy. The pulse laser goes deep into the tissue and target causative pathogens that are on the nail bed. They use a wavelength of around 900 nm, so the laser can penetrate deeply into the tissue, while the blue light works on fighting the fungus cells found on the outer surface of the nail. The blue light also helps to stop the fungus from affecting other toes in the area.
At home lasers are very easy to use you just put the unit on the infected area and press the operating button. The treatment light will begin to blink, and the device will emit visible blue light. In general, they will run for about 7 minutes and shut off when the 7 minutes are up. For it to work effectively, you will need to treat each infected area daily. You can treat the nail up to three times a day, although most users only use it once a day, as it can be time-consuming. The standard treatment when using a home product is 3 to 6 months for the fungus to be cleared up.
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What Is Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment
Lasers have been used to treat medical conditions since way back in the 1960s, but its only in the last few years that lasers have been used as a treatment for toenail fungus.
Its a pain free, non-invasive treatment without any worrying side effects, and can either be performed by a podiatrist in a clinic or thanks to new technology- in the comfort of your own home.
And it kills toenail fungus within a matter of minutes.
What Are The Problems With Oral Remedies For Toenail Fungus
The side effects take center stage. They include headache, nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes serious systemic reactions. Some of those side effects are so potentially hazardous that constant monitoring of liver function is required.
Another drawback of ointments and oral remedies for toenail fungus is the extended duration of treatment. Toenails grow slowly. The nail on a big toe can take well over a year to completely replace itself. So the traditional remedies must be administered for a correspondingly lengthy time period.
Even after a successful treatment, fungal colonies often reestablish themselves.
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How Much Does It Cost
Laser treatment for nail fungus is not covered by insurance, although you may be an exception. Treating fungal toenails typically takes many sessions, each of which has to be paid for individually. The fact that fungal toenails can get so bad may force your insurance company to reconsider.
Even if youre fairly sure they wont fork out the cash, its worth talking to them and asking. You may just be surprised, and find youre entitled to something you thought you werent. And if the worst comes to the worst, you can always switch to a provider who does and accepts pre-existing conditions.
The reason that insurers wont necessarily help you with your fungal toenails is quite simple. Its because theyre still considered to be a cosmetic issue, rather than a fundamental medical condition. Right or wrong, thats their position on the issue, and we as their customers have to accept that.
If you arent covered, but still want to get rid of your fungal toenails, simply contact your podiatrist. They can quote a price over the phone for treating your fungal toenails, on one foot or both. They can also tell you more about the treatment, should you choose to go forward with it.
A one-hour treatment session will cost around a thousand dollars. Whether you consider that reasonable is down to how much you want to fix your nails. You should also bear in mind that you will probably need far more than just one laser session.
Why Is Laser Therapy The Best Option To Treat Toenail Fungus And Why Would I Not Choose Laser Therapy To Begin With
Laser therapy is the better treatment for toenail fungus for many reasons, though I will tell you there is one main reason why it is sometimes not used money. Insurance carriers do not like paying for anything new and/or expensive unless they have to. For whatever reason, insurance companies have so far declined reimbursement for laser treatment, and as a result, you will have to fork out the money to cover the cost. And it can be expensive sometimes I have seen places charge over $1,000 for EACH treatment, or Ive seen places nickel-and-dime you to pay several hundred PER TOE! In my humble opinion, that is ridiculous. I would rather more people get the treatment and tell someone they know how great it works. Remember, 1 out of 5 people you know have toenail fungus just like you, and often they have no idea they can affordably get treated. With this philosophy, I get plenty of people getting the treatment who otherwise could not, or would not, pay for this safe, effective service. Please call our office at 515 FEET or send us a message through our website at www.GWAPodiatry.com so we can fill you in on the latest affordable special offer we have. We run them all the time, and do our best to make sure you can pay for this otherwise expensive treatment, however possible.
Getting back to why this laser treatment is ideal, here are a few of the reasons why you might consider giving it a try:
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What Are The Costs Involved In Laser Fungus Treatment
Given how new laser fungus treatments are, health insurance providers do not cover it. This can cause jumps in costs when compared to established medications.
Procedures on average can cost as much as $1000 depending on the severity of your particular case. That $1000.00 is not the full investment required for laser treatment though.
Laser treatments typically require 3-5 sessions. Each follow-up session can run roughly $500.00.
When adding up costs for follow up sessions and the more expensive initial treatment, the total may average $3000.00.
How Long Does Treatment Take
Fungal toenails are the kind of problem that sticks around for far longer than theyre welcome. This is combined with the fact that most people avoid treatment because of both hassle and cost. Unfortunately, your first round of treatment is only the beginning, as it takes quite a while to remove fungal toenails.
The length of treatment for your fungal toenail can vary, and also depends on how you define treatment. Each time that you see a podiatrist for laser treatment, it will take one hour to complete. This is so that the podiatrist can be sure that each nail has been treated fully.
Your treatment also takes place over the course of a number of visits to your podiatrist. This is because every single spore has to be destroyed, or else the fungus will spread once more. Each treatment progressively reduces the risk that the fungus will return later on after your treatment is complete.
As we will cover in more depth later, it also takes many months before your toenail fully heals. This is because the dead toenail has to be replaced by new, healthy nail tissue. That nail tissue grows as fast as you would expect a nail to grow.
This length of recovery time is normal in the context of fungal toenail treatment, which is normally difficult. Creams and ointments take a similar amount of time to achieve the same results, which can be frustrating. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy solution to defeating fungal toenails, so you have to be patient.
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For Diabetics Toenail Fungus Is Especially Dangerous
Diabetics typically can have reduced blood circulation and nerve function in their feet. So any relatively minor foot condition, including a nail fungal infestation, may lead to more serious complications for diabetic patients.
Given all the above symptomology, it follows that harm from toenail fungus isnt confined to your anatomy. The displeasing aesthetics and negative aroma can lead to significant self-consciousness, and a determination to hide your feet at all costs. You discard all your sandals and open toed shoes. There goes your summer at the beach.
Pretty dismal, right? But dont give up hope. Effective help is available.
How Does Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment Work
The lasers used for fungus removal attack the organisms under the nail without damaging the skin and tissue. Unlike topical therapies, the light can penetrate through the toenail to reach the fungus.
Before the procedure, our technicians may file your nails to prepare the area for the laser. You should remove nail polish or decals from your nails before your appointment. The treatment is almost always painless, though you may feel warmth or tingling on the nail bed during the treatment.
After toenail laser treatment, most patients display healthy new nail growth without damage to the surrounding tissue. The laser foot treatment can prevent the fungus from spreading and reduce the pain or discomfort associated with infection.
Most patients need just one treatment, though it can take six months to a year for your nail to return to its former appearance . While recurrence of infection is unlikely, some fungal infections may return and require additional treatment.
Because toenail fungus worsens and spreads over time, early treatment may prevent complications such as toenail loss. Individuals who have an immune disorder or diabetes are at risk for serious health issues caused by untreated toenail fungus.
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What Else Should You Do To Ensure Successful Treatment
Since nail fungus is pretty hard to get rid of and to stop reinfection, there are a few simple things to do to help ensure that your laser treatments are as effective as possible.
- Keep your feet as dry as possible and expose them to light and fresh air often.
- Change your socks and shoes if they get wet. Keep a dry pair of socks available if there is any chance of your feet getting wet.
- If you are in public places like a pool or locker pool always wear flip flop or sandals.
- Trim your nails frequently.
- Use foot baths and soaks with tea tree oil
- If you get manicures or pedicures, bring your own tools so you can ensure that they are sterile.
- Consider using an Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer to help kill any bacteria that may linger in your shoes.
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