Laser for Fungal Nail Infection (Onychomycosis) 

Results may vary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results may vary.

 

What nails can be treated using lasers?

Fungal toenails or fingernails can be treated using laser as long as the nail is not very thickened.

How does laser treatment work for fungal nails?

The fungus that infects nails can be killed with medication, but the problem lies in getting the medication to the right place.

The fungus is growing between microscopic layers of the nails, and nails have no blood flow. It's easy to swallow medication and achieve high blood levels, but that blood can't get the drug to much of the fungus in the nail.

Topical medication has a similar issue. When applied to the nail surface, it will only penetrate to a very limited depth, leaving much of the fungus untouched.

Laser works by heating the toenail, nail bed, and fungus simultaneously. The heat kills the fungus.*

*Results may vary. 

How much does it hurt?

The heat created by the laser builds gradually. If it gets uncomfortably hot, you can tell the technician who will adjust the treatment.

Some discomfort is desirable. It means we have added enough heat to be effective.*

No anesthetics can be used, because we need your feedback during treatment to prevent overheating and burns.

Patients who have limited sensation in the feet or hands (eg. diabetics) should not be treated with laser.

*Results may vary.  

What are the risks of laser fungus treatment?

During the treatment there is mild to moderate pain. There should be no discomfort after the treatment.

Mild redness of the surrounding skin is normal and will last a few hours. 

The powerful light of the laser can cause burning and blistering in rare cases. Burns are only one to two millimeters in diameter. Most burns heal uneventfully.

Goggles must be worn during the procedure to protect the eyes.

Is laser treatment of fungal nails permanent?

Permanent results can be accomplished, but you should have realistic expectations. Fungus is everywhere, and it is very difficult to kill. Recurrences are common.

Even though your other nails look normal, we will treat all of them to prevent cross-infection.

You should take precautions to prevent recurrences:

  • Bring clean socks to wear immediately after treatment.

  • Treat your nails with anti-fungal cream twice a day until one month after your last laser treatment

  • Treat your shoes with anti-fungal powder at least weekly until one month after last treatment

  • Keep nails trimmed

  • Sterilize your nail clippers after each use, and don't let anyone else use them

  • Do not go barefoot in public places like locker rooms and pools

Also keep in mind that not all nails that look like they are infected with fungus are actually infected. Several conditions mimic fungus, with psoriasis and trauma being the most common. Sometimes it might be necessary to confirm the diagnosis with fungal cultures.  

How many treatments will be required?

It will take 3 to 6 sessions depending on severity. 

How long do treatments take?

Treatments take 20 to 30 minutes.

At what intervals are treatments repeated?

Treatments are done at 4 to 6 week intervals.

What should I do to prepeare for treatment?

Remove nail polish completely! Residual nail polish will cause burns.

Bring clean socks to wear after the treatment.

When will I see results?

It takes 9 to 12 months for toenails to grow out, and 6 to 9 months for fingernails.

Final results will not be evident until the infected portion of nail has grown out.

We recommend wating several months following your last treatment before deciding whether or not to repeat the treatment. if you don't see normal-looking nail growing out, the treatment has likely failed and you should come back for reassessment.

What are my restrictions after treatment?

There are no restrictions. You can return to your daily activities immediately.

Does OHIP cover the cost of laser vein treatments?

No. Laser treatment of nail fungus is not covered by OHIP.

Does extended health insurance cover the cost of laser vein treatments?

Generally speaking, the answer is no, but this depends on your policy. Check with your insurance agent.

If you have one, you can use a Health Spending account to cover the cost.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require 48 hours notice for cancellation of your consultation or treatment, in order to fill the appointment time. If sufficient notice is not given, the full value of the treatment to be done may be charged. The minimum charge for a missed appointment or late cancellation is $100 (one hundred dollars).

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