Fungal nail infections are a very common problem affecting around three in every 100 people in the UK. The responsible fungus is usually the same as that that causes athlete’s foot. Onychomycosis (fungal nail infections) are contagious and easily spread. It leads to discoloration of the nail, thickening of the subungual region, and, when advanced, may lead to secondary bacterial infections and predispose to erysipelas and cellulitis. it’s important to stop the fungus from spreading. Laser fungal nail treatment uses light at particular wavelengths to interact with the fungus without affecting the healthy skin or body.
What treatments are available?
Systemic antifungal drugs, usually prescribed by your GP, are the mainstay of therapy for this chronic disease. However, these drugs need to be taken correctly by the patient for the entire lengthy duration of the treatment. In addition, there are concerns about potential side-effects, especially in patients with liver disease or patients taking other medicines.
In light of these limitations, although not considered the standard therapy, laser fungal nail therapy offers a convenient solution with minimal side effects. Treatment is administered in the medical setting, avoiding long treatment plans with antifungal drugs. Laser therapy also has the potential to help patients where systemic antifungals are either contraindicated or associated with possible drugs interactions.
Benefits of the treatment:
Fungal nail infection, you might have heard it being referred to as ‘Onychomycosis’, is a very common problem, affecting up to one in ten of the UK population. The condition can be unsightly and embarrassing, and until now they have been very difficult to treat. Our safe advanced medical laser penetrate into the nail bed to eliminate fungal nail infection on your fingernails or toenails. The treatment is not painful and takes 10 min.
The Laser treatment can be accompanied by POM (prescription only medication) if necessary. Our Registered Nurse Prescriber will assess your condition accordingly.
Statement from Microbiology Scientist ?
Although the potential mechanism of action remains unknown, several theories exist. By the principle of selective photothermolysis, based on differences in thermal conductivity, laser energy may be preferentially absorbed by fungal pathogens resulting in photothermal and photomechanical damage that spares surrounding human tissues. An alternate theory suggests the formation of free radicals by incident laser energy and light absorption by fungal pigment xanthomegnin, present in high concentration in Trichophyton rubric.
Dr Dmitri Malychev
Bristow, I. R. (2014). The effectiveness of lasers in the treatment of onychomycosis: a systematic review. Journal of foot and ankle research, 7(1), 34.
Liddell, L. T., & Rosen, T. (2015). Laser Therapy for Onychomycosis: Fact or Fiction?. Journal of Fungi, 1(1), 44-54
How does Laser work?
Light is absorbed by water in the skin beneath and around the nail, creating heat. This heat helps to destroy dermatophytes (fungus that commonly causes skin disease) and eliminate the fungal infection. The laser applicator is placed on the nail and a short pulse of light is released. The entire nail bed and nail matrix is then treated in this way. Research shows that laser was effective for onychomycosis. It is a simple and effective method without significant complications or side effects and is expected to become an alternative or replacement therapy for onychomycosis.
What can I expect?
Treatments generally take in the region of 10 - 15 minutes. A degree of heating and slight discomfort can be felt during treatment. A skin cooling device can be used to make treatment as comfortable as possible. The area may be red immediately after treatment and may be a little swollen and tender, but this usually subsides within a few hours. Laser fungal treatment is combined with prescription medication which will be prescribed by our Registered Nurse Prescriber. You will also have a copy of our post-treatment protocol to follow at home.
Is Laser fungal nail treatment safe?
Unlike side effects of some medication, laser treatment is generally very safe and does not cause any side-effects or unwanted reactions. Unwanted reactions are very rare but may include a small blister in the area around the nail, or temporary lightening or darkening of the skin. In rare cases, if the nail is very badly infected, the nail may fall off, but if this occurs, it will be replaced by a smoother, health regrowth.
How often do I need Laser fungal nail treatments?
You will receive treatments every two to four weeks, depending on the size of affected ares. The number of treatments required varies, although typically six to eight treatments are needed to see an initial result. The toe nails grow very slowly and result of the treatment will be seen as the infected nail grows out. It may take several months for the full results to become apparent.
Do I need to do anything before treatments?
If possible the nail bed should be filed to reduce the nail thickness which will improve laser penetration and treatment efficacy. Loose skin around the nails should be cleaned off. It would help if the dead skin under the nails can be cleaned as well. Please bring a spare pair of clean socks to wear after your treatment.
Do I need a consultation?
You don't need a separate consultation for Laser fungal nail treatment but can require one if you wish. Prior to treatment, our medical practitioner will collect your medical history in order to confirm your suitability for the treatment. You will also have a patch test.
You will not be hustled or pushed into buying anything at your first consultation. It is designed and designated to provide necessary knowledge and understanding of the treatment and the technology used to assist you in making your own decision. Children from 16 years of age can have these treatment at Laserina Clinic if it is recommended by their GP.