Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus

Apr 27, 2017

Despite how common they are, fungal nails are often a source of embarrassment for many of our patients. Although they usually aren’t physically harmful, they can cause a lot of emotional distress and loss of self-confidence. Fungal toenails can also be very frustrating, since the fungi are typically very stubborn and resilient even in the face of treatment.

Fortunately, that last part is changing. Although treatment for fungal toenails still takes time, new technologies—particularly laser therapy—have made treatment much easier and more effective than ever before. And at the office of Dr. Joel Foster, we have made laser a part of our suite of comprehensive care options for our patients.

In the days before laser, the “best” option for fungal nails was 90 days of prescription-strength antifungal pills. Although successful most of the time, this approach comes with a lot of drawbacks. Most significantly, oral antifungals are known to produce side effects, including particularly serious ones like liver damage—and 90 days is a very, very long time, especially when good results were far from guaranteed.

Laser treatment is radically different. Instead of medications or surgeries, the device uses a 100% safe, non-invasive, painless beam of light tuned to a very specific frequency. The laser is able to reach the fungi under the nail and eliminate the infecting agents, all without damaging sensitive skin or other tissues. Better yet, the time commitment is minimal—most people require only three quick sessions lasting around 20 minutes each.

Because laser sessions and oral antifungals are not mutually exclusive, we are able to use both as part of a combination therapy, designed to increase success rates even more while limiting the risk of side effects. For example, “pulse dosing” the antifungal tablets for just a week at a time, every four weeks, is a much safer and more manageable strategy than the old 90 day treatments. At the same time, we’d continue the regular laser sessions, so you can attack the fungus from both directions—inside and out.

Our goal is always to give every patient as much information as possible about their treatment needs and options, so that doctor and patient can come together and make the best possible decision. Some patients prefer to try traditional treatment first. Others, who may have more concerns about liver health, may opt with laser alone. For most, a combination therapy using multiple approaches is going to produce the quickest and best results.

So what treatment plan is going to be best for you? Make an appointment with Dr. Joel Foster in Lee’s Summit, MO to learn more about how we can help you eliminate your toenail fungus for good. You can contact us online, or call our office today at (816) 246-4222.