Living with a nail fungus isn’t something that you want to think about –
but it can become a reality if you find yourself in the kind of situation where you develop one.
The trick is to make sure that you take care of it properly, especially in diagnosing it and learning about the treatment.
One of the option is to consider is nail fungus laser treatment.
Not sure what that is?
Here is an overview of you’re going to need to know about it, including medical reviews on its efficacy, the associated cost vs other nail fungus treatment alternatives, etc.
Nail Fungus Laser Treatment Procedure: How Does It Work?
Laser therapy works by targeting the impacted area with a focused beam light of very specific intensity and wavelength.
The laser is intended to penetrate the toenails or fingernails to destroy the fungus embedded in the nail plate and nail bed.
Laser treatment is a painless procedure, making it so much interest to those who are looking for targeted treatment using modern technologies. This a great option to those who are suffering from more severe cases of the fungus itself.
Once the nail growth starts up after successful laser treatment, it is much healthier and the nail itself is clear from most visible signs of the fungus that were present before.
Watch the brief video below to understand more on how does laser toenail fungus removal work:
Just like any other kind of laser treatment option that is out there for medical purposes, the procedure will go something like this when you visit a specialist or podiatrist:
1. A specialist will first diagnose to confirm the infection on your nail is Onychomycosis (also known as tinea unguium) caused by fungus, and the type of infection.
According to University of Michigan, there are 4 different types of fungal nail infection:
- Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO) caused by dermatophytes, the same fungi that cause most cases of athlete’s foot. This is the most common type of fungal nail infection.
- White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO) that affects the top layer of nail with white spots on the nail surface. This is the second most common type of nail fungal infection.
- Proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO) due to dermatophytes, more common in people infected with HIV.
- Candida Onychomycosis caused by yeast infection, which is more common in fingernails than toenails.
2. The specialist will determine how to best treat your fungal infection.
3. The laser treatment for nail fungus will take less than 30 minutes per session. There will be a minimum of 3 appointments which are spaced out to be the most effective. If it is a series infection, than there will also be additional appointments.
4. You will be called in at proper intervals at least twice to make sure that the toenail or fingernail (and surrounding skin) are healing as time goes on. This will prove whether or not the laser therapy is the best and most productive option.
For instance, as mentioned by foot specialist Marz Hardy in this video, the laser nail fungus treatment at Academy Foot & Orthotic Clinics requires 5 visits spaced one month apart.
It’ll take up to 9 months for the whole healthy toenail to grow out so you have to be patient to see the full result of laser treatment:
Success Rate of Laser Toenail / Fingernail Fungus Treatment
Reports published in Journal of Fungi and The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology show it is not yet possible to draw a meaningful conclusion that laser therapy is effective for treatment of nail fungus.
This is because, there are many different types of lasers and methods used in the published research, while most studies to date lack placebo or standard of care control groups to determine the clinical benefit of laser treatment compared to previously existing options.
Among some of the studies:
- One research by Beijing Capital Medical University shows long-pulse laser therapy improved toenail fungus in 33 patients with success rate in the range of 51% to 68%, however
- Another research conducted by Stanford University Medical Center indicated long-pulse laser therapy showed no improvement in 27 patients after 3 or 12 months of treatment.
In video below, Seattle podiatrist Dr Larry Huppin shares his insights on the success rate of laser treatment for nail fungal infection, which was mentioned to be around 60% to 65%.
Pros and Cons of Laser Nail Fungus Treatment + Its Cost
As you can expect, there are both pros and cons to be aware of for this kind of procedure.
So let’s list them out, so that you’ll be able to see all of the potential good and the concerns here to help you along your way to making the right decision on the best treatment option that is available.
- No side effects: Laser therapy does not have side effects, unlike oral anti-fungal pills like Terbinafine (Lamisil) and Itraconazole (Sporanox) that may cause liver problems.
- Less invasive compared to other surgical procedure, such as removal of nail by using a special tool to lift your entire nail away from your nail bed or by cutting out the infected piece.
- No pain or discomfort for most people, though one study revealed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine reported that 7 out of 30 (33%) patients experienced pain within 48 hours of the laser treatment session with burning sensation in the treated nail bed area.
- Laser nail fungus treatment is safe and approved by the FDA, so that you can put your worry at ease about it.
- There is no 100% guarantee that this is going to be effective, as nail fungus might not go away even after laser treatment.
- This can be an expensive treatment. With no guarantee, this can be a turn off.
- Some people may find the treatment frequency (such as 5 visits spaced one month apart) is time consuming.
- There might be a need for repeat sessions if the fungus shows no sign of improvement, or it comes back.
How much does laser nail fungus treatment cost?
Medical laser to get rid of nail fungus are expensive devices, so treatments with these equipment requires generally pretty high fees to recoup the cost spent to purchase such machines.
The cost of the fungus laser treatment is approximately $1000 and can be higher in some places due to hidden or added fees by the specialists.
This makes it an expensive procedure that may have to happen several times in order to make sure that it’s effective.
As mentioned by ‘The Doctors’ in video below, laser treatment is not cheap.
For instance, New York City Podiatrist is charging $1,200 per toenail fungus treatment procedure.
Is laser treatment for toenail fungus covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, nail fungal treatment procedure is currently not covered by any kind of medical insurance because it is considered “cosmetic / aesthetic”. So it is going to require someone to pay out of their own pocket.
Nail Fungal Infection: Alternative Treatment
Nail fungus is common, with laser treatment procedure or surgery is usually recommended as last resort after the person has tried other methods to get rid of the fungus.
Among the other treatments available, you can consider over the counter topical nail fungus solution as first line of therapy.
It’s recommended to look for product that contains Undecylenic acid, which is an antifungal active ingredient approved by the US FDA.
Undecylenic acid, a natural fatty acid extracted from castor oil, has long been used as traditional medicine for its antifungal property.
Its efficacy for nail fungal infection treatment is supported by various medical studies, including research published by The American Academy of Family Physicians and University of New Mexico.
A leading topical nail fungus treatment solution in the market is EmoniNail, which contains Undecylenic Acid as its key ingredient.
The other natural ingredients in EmoniNail with clinically-proven antifungal properties include essential oils like Tea tree oil, sunflower seed oil, etc.
>> Visit EmoniNail Official Website here to Learn More.