What is Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus, also referred to as Onychomycosis, is a fungal infection in one or more of your nails. The infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the nail fungus spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges. This unsightly and potentially painful problem can lead to ingrowing nails, fungal skin infections and bacterial infections of the surrounding tissues. This problem can be especially hazardous if you have diabetes or other neurologic issues involving the foot. Approximately 30 million Americans are currently diagnosed with fungal nails.
What are my Treatment Options?
Fungal nail infections can be managed with laser treatment. In our practice we offer more than one laser wavelength which can kill nail fungus. Toxic oral anti-fungal medications can also be used as well as over the counter and prescription topical medications.
Is Nail Fungus Contagious?
Yes. Fungal organisms are alive and are contagious. They can cause a variety of skin and soft tissue infections. The infection can spread and worsen over time. It can affect more than one nail and can cause athletes foot (Tinea Pedis). The infection can be spread from person to person through direct contact and by using communal facilities such as showers and pools. A fungal infection may be very difficult to treat, and it may recur. It is best to identify the infection early and treat it as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage.
Are There Any Risks With This Treatment?
Laser nail treatment has virtually no side effects or major risks. Typically patients tolerate the treatment well and are comfortable during the short procedure. Oral anti-fungal medications, however, require routine blood work and liver enzyme monitoring throughout the treatment. There is a risk of liver damage which has been reported with the oral medication. There is also the potential for medication side effects and interactions, which need to be considered. Topically applied medications are safe, but are rarely effective and work less than 10% of the time.
How Does Laser Nail Treatment Work?
Laser treatment generates a concentrated wavelength of light to target and kill the infection. It is safe, painless and fast. The treatment triggers an auto-destruct sequence in the fungal infection, thus halting the spread of the disease as the nail grows out. It is recommended that all 10 nails be treated due to the fact that fungal spores can colonize nails that do not appear to be clinically infected when observed with the naked eye.
What Should I Expect?
Laser nail treatment is performed at our practice. On the day of treatment please arrive 15-20 minutes before your scheduled treatment time. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes following a brief consultation. The procedure is pain free and does not require any form of anesthetic. You do not have any limitations following the treatment session. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled for you prior to your departure from the facility. Call today for a complimentary consultation.