Toenail fungus is an unpleasant sight to behold. It can also be quite painful. Thankfully, advanced treatment methods like laser therapy can treat it effectively. Like many others battling with toenail fungus, it’s only normal to have questions about how laser therapy works. Through this blog, we’ll answer all of these questions.
With an 83.7% efficacy rate, laser therapy for toenail fungus results are visible after several sessions. While some people opt for topical treatments to cure toenail fungus, it isn’t always effective. There is a less than 5% possibility of topical treatments curing toenail fungus.
In most cases, patients who use creams for toenail fungus complain of it resurfacing barely a year after. However, with the technology that laser therapy uses in curing toenail fungus, the infection is unlikely to resurface.
Tired of trying several treatments for toenail fungus without positive results? Here, we’ll shine a light on how laser therapy for toenail fungus works and what to expect. In addition to this, we’ll discuss important details to know about laser therapy for toenail fungus. Let’s get right into it!
Toenail Fungus: What It Is and Causes
Onychomycosis which is commonly known as toenail fungus refers to when the toenails are infected with fungus. Although many types of fungus are responsible for this infection, laser therapy can destroy them.
On the body, the fungus is usually harmless. However, the case is reversed when the fungus finds its way into the toenails. What the fungi do is feed on toenail tissues. The same fungus is responsible for athletes’ foot and yeast infection in females.
One common symptom of toenail fungus is an unpleasant smell from your toenails. Also, you may notice dry or cracked toenails. Other symptoms include:
- Very thick toenails which are difficult to trim
- Discoloured toenails either white, yellow or black
- Misshapen toenails
- Nails loosening from the nail beds.
Causes of toenail fungus
While sweating in your shoes can cause toenail fungus, you can also get it from a friend. Inadequate care for your toenails can allow the fungus to thrive, leading to an infection. The following are primary causes of toenail fungus:
- Age: Older people are more likely to have toenail fungus as the nails become dry and brittle with age
- Sweaty shoes
- Staying with a person who has a fungal infection
- An injury in the foot or toenail
- Athlete’s foot
- Walking barefoot in a swimming pool, gym showers locker rooms
- Dirty socks.
Related Article: Laser Nail Fungus Treatment
How Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus Works
There are various treatment options for combating toenail fungus. Therefore, your knowledge of how laser therapy for toenail fungus works can help in your decision-making process.
One thing you can expect is effectiveness across the board. Some laser therapies use carbon dioxide for the treatment of toenail fungus. Conversely, others use light beams. Irrespective of which treatment your service provider uses, you can expect brilliant results.
Hot vs cold laser therapy
Depending on the severity of toenail fungus, you can decide to use hot or cold laser therapy. Typically, hot laser devices emit pulses that produce targeted heat in the direction of the fungus.
When treating toenail fungus, the medical aesthetician will direct heat from the laser to the bed of the toenail. This allows it to penetrate to where the fungus is “hiding”.
What the heat does to the tissue that’s been infected is to decompose and gasify it. The fungus is then destroyed alongside the nail and surrounding skin. Simultaneously, the heat from the laser device also sterilizes the nail. The sterilization helps to prevent fungus from infecting other nails.
On the other hand, cold laser therapy for toenail fungus makes use of two low-level beams. These beams work simultaneously on the toenail, killing the fungus in the toenail.
Cold laser therapy for toenail fungus doesn’t involve any heat. Consequently, a sizable percentage opt for it because of the cooling effect. To get the best results, patients are often advised to repeat treatments.
Consultation and procedure
Before your treatment session, you’ll have a consultation with a medical aesthetician. During your consultation, you can ask anything relating to how laser therapy for toenail fungus works. You also get a diagnosis to know how many toes are infected. Here, your medical aesthetician will look out for visible symptoms and may take a sample for further examination.
During your toenail examination, the medical aesthetician will schedule a date for debridement. Debridement involves clipping the toenails and cleaning the dead skin cells. The debridement may be done on the day of your procedure or a few days before.
On the day of your procedure, before the actual treatment begins, the aesthetician will clean your toes with a sterile solution. After ensuring your toenails are free of dirt, they’ll carefully position your leg. This ensures your leg is accessible to the laser device.
Then, the aesthetician will move the laser device over the infected toenails to kill the fungus. If you have concerns for other unaffected toenails, you can request the nails to be lasered.
To reduce the risk of side effects or pain during the procedure, the laser will be set to a specific wavelength. The wavelength for carbon dioxide lasers is usually 1320nm, 930nm or 870nm. In less than 30 minutes, you can finish your session without any pain.
During the session, you may feel a warm and tingly sensation that usually isn’t painful. If you feel any pain during the procedure, you can request the provider to move to another toenail.
Precautions that influence how laser therapy works
Your knowledge of how laser therapy for toenail fungus works is incomplete without knowing the precautions. One advantage of these precautions is they can fight the causes of the infection before your treatment.
- Carefully exfoliate your toes and feet to remove dead skin cells. In the process, you may remove fungus present in dead skin tissues.
- Carry an extra pair of cotton socks to wear after your treatment session. You risk reinfection if you wear the same socks you wore to the initial treatment.
- Trim your toenails before your treatment sessions. Some infected toenail parts may be removed in the process.
- Clean your nail polish before your procedure. Failure to completely clean your nail polish can hinder the results of the procedure. Nail polish restricts the laser from penetrating the nail bed.
Also, how you care for your nail afterwards determines the results you get. Patients who go back to habits that caused the fungal infection are likely to have it resurface. Below are things to do after your laser therapy sessions.
- Dry your feet after taking a bath or a swim.
- Ensure it’s thoroughly dry. Remember to always scrub in between your toes.
- Sterilizing your nail equipment after use can reduce the risk of reinfection. To sterilize, boil your nail clippers and file in water for about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can dip the equipment in diluted bleach or isopropyl alcohol.
- Take your nail equipment with you when visiting a nail salon.
- Constantly trim your toenails short. Long toenails that break are breeding grounds for fungi.
- Wear shoes made from breathable materials.
- Avoid wearing wet shoes.
- Wash old socks in bleach before wearing them after your treatment.
- Wear flip-flops in public bathrooms to avoid reinfection.
- Avoid wearing extremely tight shoes.
- Always use antifungal spray on your feet.
Laser therapy treatments for toenail fungus allow patients to be comfortable removing their shoes in public. Toenail fungus can give off an offensive smell which is often embarrassing.
With proper care of your shoes and toes after your treatment session, you can eliminate the foul smell. Also, be sure to follow additional instructions you may receive from your medical aesthetician after your procedure.
How Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus Works: Things to Know About the Procedure
Arming yourself with this knowledge will inform your decision to treat toenail fungus with a laser therapy procedure.
The procedure takes less than one hour
There’s no need to be worried if you run a very tight schedule. Individual treatment sessions of laser therapy for toenail fungus usually take less than an hour. This is enough to fit into your tight schedule.
Comparing this treatment to other treatments, a session is simple and fast. However, in some cases, you may need to undergo two sessions or more.
The treatment is safe and secure
Toenail fungus laser treatment is safer and more secure than other treatments. Every tool used for the procedure is safe and poses no threat whatsoever to patients. Patients who undergo laser therapy for toenail fungus aren’t at risk of damaging their skin or the surrounding tissue.
There are three types of laser devices mostly used for this treatment:
- The YAG laser light
- The Lunula laser
- The Noveon laser
These three lasers have been verified safe to the human skin. Their wavelength levels are low and won’t damage the human body. You don’t have to fear any form of radiation damage.
The procedure is not 100% effective
Another important thing to know about laser therapy for toenail fungus is that the treatment is not 100% effective. That’s why it’s best to use it before toenail fungus gets worse. Otherwise, you’ll have to get multiple treatments to get the desired results.
The procedure does not require anesthesia
If you know how laser therapy for toenail fungus works, you’ll know the process is painless. The procedure does not require anesthesia since there is no pain to be relieved.
One treatment session is sometimes enough
Most of the time, using laser therapy to treat toenail fungus can be successful with only one session. When the case is mild, it’ll only require a single treatment.
Meanwhile, severe cases may require two or three treatments before the fungus is eliminated. If this is you, space your treatment sessions by a month and spread them across three months.
The fungus may return after the treatment
For first-timers, there is a high likelihood of an infection recurring. This is not a question of how effective laser therapy is for toenail fungus. Rather, it is as a result of bad hygiene or contracting it from someone else.
If you follow precautionary measures strictly, the fungus infection won’t return. Frequently getting laser therapy for toenail fungus reduces the chances of the infection recurring.
The result is not evident immediately
The nail recovery process is a gradual one. It may be 6-9 months before your nail grows back to a perfect condition. In some cases, you can fix a cosmetic nail pending the regrowth of your original nails.
There are no side effects
The laser light treatment for toenail fungus is exceptional in that it does not have a side effect. In rare cases, patients may bleed during the procedure.
Hence, the importance of going to a qualified and experienced medical aesthetician. They’ll be able to manage this side effect smoothly.
There is no downtime in the treatment
Immediately after the treatment, you can resume normal activities without any restrictions. This may not be the case for other treatment options, especially nail removal.
Nail removal may result in an inability to wear shoes until the toes are healed. Additionally, unlike surgical removal of infected nails, laser therapy for toenail fungus is non-invasive.
Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus: Results to Expect
It’s common to find many patients asking if laser therapy for toenail fungus is worth it. They want to know the results to expect after their laser therapy procedure for toenail fungus.
It helps to know that results differ from patient to patient. For illustration, older patients are advised to repeat treatments because fungus infection thrives with age.
Although laser therapy works to kill fungi, results aren’t immediate. Approximately, patients tend to see new toenails in less than a year. Each month, the rate at which healthy toenails grow is about 1mm.
If only a quarter of the nail is infected, the full result of the laser therapy should be evident in four months. However, toenails that are halfway affected can take about half a year to be completely healthy again.
Frequently Asked Questions on Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus
Here, we’ll be answering some questions patients frequently ask.
How soon can I get a pedicure after getting laser therapy for toenail fungus?
You can use nail polish after your treatment session. However, it’s always best to wait for a while before getting a pedicure.
What is the cost of laser therapy for toenail fungus?
There isn’t a specific price for laser therapy for toenail fungus. However, most medical spas charge about $600-$1000 per treatment session. Also, some clinics charge patients per toe. One factor that influences the cost of laser therapy for toenail fungus is the number of treatment sessions.
Related Article: How to Treat Nail Fungus Effectively
To Wrap It Up
The answer to how laser therapy for toenail fungus works is a simple procedure that starts with a consultation. Above, we have been able to explicitly cover what happens after the consultation session.
How effective laser therapy is for toenail fungus has to do with the treatment clinic. Working with experienced medical aestheticians assures you of great results.
Don’t wait until the infection spreads from your toes to your feet. It isn’t enough to know how laser therapy for toenail fungus works, taking action is important.
Get the best toenail fungus treatment with Canada MedLaser Clinics. Our medical aestheticians have access to the best available tech. More importantly, they have the experience to get the best results.