Onychomycosis, more commonly known as a fungal infection of the nails on the toes, causes the latter to become hard and thick as the fungi continue to grow. The edges of each nail may also crumble, which can cause pain and soreness in the underlying nail bed. Laser treatment for toenail fungus is a new therapy on the horizon that was developed to eliminate this uncomfortable and embarrassing infection.
The aforementioned infection may first manifest as tiny white spots that gradually begin to spread. Eventually, the entire nail is affected. The fungus may be present in only one nail, or multiple toenails can be infected. Such infections are often challenging to treat, and in many cases it appears that they have cleared up, but they recur in the future. As mentioned above, laser therapy is a new approach to such infections, and many patients have enjoyed success when such therapy was pursued.
Fungi are microscopic growths that thrive in warm, dark, moist environment. This is why many people catch such infections in public swimming pools or showers. The technical term for the fungi that cause such infections is dermatophytes. The tiny openings where the nail bed separates from the nail itself is typically the portal of entry for such infections.
Although scientists do not know the reason, toenail fungus affects more men than women. Infections of this kind are also less common among young individuals than they are among the elderly. Again, researchers are not exactly sure what causes certain people to be at a higher risk for such infections.
Currently, there are two kinds of laser therapy available for this condition. The first is referred to as patholase; however, this type has not yet received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. This is due to the fact that the results of various clinical trials have not proven its effectiveness in eliminating fungus.
The other option for those pursuing laser therapy for fungus of the toenail is called Nomir. Although the latter is also awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, research has concluded that the treatment is beneficial to most patients. Initial trials showed that 85 percent of those who participated in studies experienced an improvement in their condition within a hundred and eighty days of completing their therapy. Additional research is underway regarding this type of laser procedure.
A laser is a precise light beam, and when it is directed to the tissue where the infection has manifested, the latter is vaporized. It typically takes several treatments to achieve these results. Different wavelengths are used to selectively treat each area, based on the infection’s severity. The fungus is killed through the heat from the light beam, and the surrounding tissue is not harmed. Such therapy is associated with essentially no side effects.
The procedure takes approximately thirty minutes and can be done in a doctor’s office. It typically takes 3 visits to acquire enough wavelengths to kill the infection. Anesthesia is not needed, as the person generally feels nothing during the process.
Laser treatment for toenail fungus can be performed on essentially anyone. No incidences of adverse reactions have yet been reported, and both nail polish and footwear can be worn immediately following the therapy. Anyone who is interested in this procedure should schedule an appointment with his or her primary health care practitioner for an evaluation and advice.
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