The most common way to treat a fungal infection is the oral medication Lamisil, which is cheap and usually safe -- although it can cause liver damage. One of the problems with oral medication is the fungus lives in dead tissue, which is hard to reach with medication as there is no blood flow. Even topical medication has limited success, as the nail itself is very hard to penetrate.
Even with medication, the fungal infection can still come back and many people resort to having their toenail removed surgically to prevent the nail (and fungus) from growing back. About 22% of people who take oral medication for a toenail fungal infection report the infection coming back.
How Laser Nail Fungal Treatments Work
Laser therapy is the solution to a hard-to-reach infection of the toenails. Unlike oral or topical medication, lasers produce light energy that can penetrate the tissue and destroy the fungus without harming surrounding tissue.Laser therapy for fungal infections has been approved by the FDA because it can kill the fungus that lives in (and under!) the nail. The light energy targets the pathogens that cause fungus. Unlike medication, laser therapy has no side effects and it's an option for patients who cannot take oral medication for health reasons.
The laser therapy is painless, although you may notice a warm sensation. Some people feel a mild pinprick sensation. The procedure takes about 30 minutes to kill the fungus. Once your treatment is complete, keep in mind there is a chance for the infection to reoccur if there is fungus still present elsewhere that spreads to the toenail.
While your toenail will not instantly clear up after treatments are complete, the fungus itself will be cleared. As your toenails grow out over 3 or more months, they will grow in clear and healthy.
Laser treatment is one of the most promising new treatments for fungal infection. Laser therapy is safe and effective and it's been used to treat everything from skin lesions to wrinkles for decades. Studies have found that laser therapy has a very high success rate of 87% in the treatment of toenail fungus, all without pain.
If you have toenails that are thickened, yellow, or cracked, it's important to seek treatment for the fungal infection as soon as possible to minimize and reverse disfigurement and avoid potential complications.