Does laser treatment work for severe toenail fungus?

Studies have shown that laser treatments are the most effective method of treating this condition, with a success rate of 80 percent or more. More than one treatment may be needed, depending on the severity of the infection.

Does laser treatment work for severe toenail fungus?

Studies have shown that laser treatments are the most effective method of treating this condition, with a success rate of 80 percent or more. More than one treatment may be needed, depending on the severity of the infection. Two lasers that use different types of laser energy have attracted attention as treatments for fungal infection of the toenails, a condition called onychomycosis (pronounced Oh-Nee-Koh-my-Koh-sis), which can also affect fingernails. The theory is that a precisely targeted laser can remove the fungus without damaging the surrounding nail tissue.

The underlying technologies are already being used for other conditions, such as cataract surgery, dental treatments and hair removal. Although there is some laboratory evidence that lasers can silence fungal organisms, clinical studies in humans are so far limited. Laser systems are increasingly presented as a convenient and effective panacea for onychomycosis. In the light of complications and the prolonged course of treatment associated with systemic antifungals, many doctors have adopted laser as an alternative.

However, in reviewing the data, a number of serious limitations become evident. In addition to the lack of controlled experiments and the small sample sizes included in existing studies, much of the research to date has a heterogeneous design, with few randomized controlled studies with sufficient power, making it difficult to conclude the effectiveness in laser treatment of onychomycosis. There have been a number of lasers on the market that vary in type and wavelength. Over the years, many laser companies have claimed that they have good results.

Still, to date there is no real single protocol for laser toenail fungus treatments. Treatments vary by company and individual doctor. As a result, there have been no solid studies that show that laser can cure toenail fungus. In fact, the FDA authorization for laser machines states that this is a “temporary increase of the clear nail” in patients with onychomycosis.

Clinical studies show that laser kills toenail fungus and promotes clear nail growth with a single treatment in more than 80% of cases. Laser treatment is safe, effective, and most patients generally improve after their first treatment. Laser systems are a common treatment option for onychomycosis. They exert their effects in inhibiting the growth of the fungus by selective photothermolysis, but the effectiveness depends on the specific type of apparatus used.

Systematically review available published literature on the curative effects and safety of laser treatment for onychomycosis. Published data indicate that laser treatment is relatively safe, but can cause tolerable pain and sometimes lead to bleeding after treatment. Treatment of onychomycosis is considered effective when the symptoms of the infection disappear and there is no evidence of fungus in cultured specimens of the toe or surrounding skin. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience an infection again in the future.

Because toenail fungus worsens and spreads over time, early treatment can prevent complications such as nail loss. Even effective treatments are not expected to immediately remove an infected nail; it may take up to 12 months for the nail to grow before you can determine if the treatment has been successful. This treatment is very promising and many patients have undergone this laser treatment all over the country. If the fungus on the toenails and yellow, thick and crunchy nails that brings you are embarrassed to show your feet, now is the right time to start treatment.

In the subjective evaluation, the blind expert panel found that one toenail in the treatment group (4%) and two in the control group (18%) improved markedly, p values were not reported. The effectiveness of laser treatment in curing onychomycosis significantly depends on the patient's state of health and the course of treatment being completed. Laser fungus removal is a modern and safe treatment option to eliminate and prevent future fungal problems. People who have an immune disorder or diabetes are at risk for serious health problems caused by untreated toenail fungus.

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Glenna Ellegood
Glenna Ellegood

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