Fungal nail (onychomycosis) is an unsightly and stubborn infection beneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. It can affect one or several toenails and can be spread to other toenails and also to the fingernails.
We are one of only a few practices in Perth that offers this type of fungal nail laser treatment.
The laser uses light energy to penetrate the nail bed and to kill the fungus, without damaging the surrounding nail bed tissue.
Recent studies have shown that 70-80% of patients eliminate their fungal nail infection after two laser treatments. New, healthy nail growth can then begin.
Benefits of laser over traditional treatments
Over the counter topical treatments: Many people attempt to treat nail fungus with topical applications from the pharmacy. Inconveniently, these need to be applied daily for around six months to take effect, and often do not produce the desired results.
Oral Medications: In more severe cases, oral medications are sometimes prescribed, however to be effective, they need to be taken for several months and can have undesirable side effects including liver damage.
During your laser fungal nail treatment, a laser is directed at the affected toenail for 1-2 minutes which generates heat beneath the nail and kills the underlying fungal colony.
It is a non-invasive, painless procedure and does not involve any recovery period. Patients are free to wear shoes and socks, and even paint their nails immediately after treatment.
For maximum effectiveness, each patient will require two laser treatment sessions, normally spaced two months apart.
For particularly severe or persistent cases, our Podiatrist may also recommend a topical treatment to be used in conjunction with laser therapy to give the patient the best prognosis.
To give our patients the very best chance of eliminating the fungal infection permanently, and allowing a new healthy, smooth nail to grow, our clinic highly recommends our Laser Treatment Aftercare Kit, which includes:
• Lamisil spray: Fungus inhabits shoes, and so even if a fungal infection is effectively treated, it is very easy for patients to become reinfected by wearing their contaminated shoes. Lamisil spray kills the fungus that lives in shoes and prevents reinfection.
• Canestan Hygiene Rinse: Normal washing, especially at cold temperatures, may not completely remove the bacteria or fungal spores and can ultimately result in re-infection or cross infection. Canesten Hygiene Rinse effectively eliminates fungal spores that can remain in your clean washing and reduces the risk of re-infection.
• Emtrix: Emtrix is a topical application which improves the appearance of discoloured and deformed nails. It increases hydration, gently smoothes the outer layers of the nail plate and, by changing the nail’s microenvironment and improving nail surface integrity, keeps nails in good condition. First signs of improvement are normally seen after 2‐4 weeks of treatment.
Causes of fungal nail
• The toenails are particularly vulnerable around damp areas where you are likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools and showers etc.
• Using unhygienic nail instruments; This may occur at nail salons when instruments are not sterilized correctly and the infection is spread from one customer to the next. This can also happen when family members share nail scissors and files.
• Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Injury can occur as a result this might direct trauma to the toe or nail, or sometimes there may be pathology under the nail such as a exostosis (bone spur). You podiatrist may want to investigate further if an underlying pathology is suspected.
• Those with diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions are prone to fungal nail infections
• Fungal toenail infections often occur without causing any pain. Pain may be a sign of a secondary underlying pathology and so correct diagnosis is important.
• The toenail will often become discoloured (yellowish/brownish).
• The nail may begin to come away from the nailbed (lysis), which will result in white or yellow patches and lifting of the nail.
• The nail may become soft and crumbly.
• Fungal skin infections may spread from the skin to the nails if left untreated.
It is important that you visit a podiatrist or skin specialist to confirm the diagnosis of a fungal infection before you start treatment for it, as there are many conditions that have a similar appearance.