What are my treatment options?
Successful treatment of fungus of the nail unit may reduce thickness, improve appearance, and make trimming easier. However, treatment is not generally considered medically necessary unless other factors are present such as diabetes, poor circulation, excessive pressure, pain, or lack of normal sensation.
Treatment options include:
- Not having treatment and living with the condition.
- The use of topical antifungals.
- The use of prescription oral Lamisil which reports up to a 66% success rate with need for blood tests to monitor for possible liver damage.
- Laser treatment.
How does the laser treatment work?
Our office uses a Q-Switched NdYAG laser which is one of the most advanced dermatologic lasers currently available. In 3-10 billionths of a second, impulses of high power laser energy pass through the nail to the nail bed and nail growth area with typically no damage to the nail or surrounding skin. At the time of the procedure the fungus is expected to be destroyed. However, no visible change is seen until the nail begins to grow out. In a few months, a more normal nail is expected to appear with complete regrowth of the nail taking up to 9-12 months.
What is the recovery period?
No post treatment pain has been reported. You may resume all normal activities immediately. If you have any problems or questions, please contact our office.
Is the procedure painful?
Most people do not feel any pain. Some patients may experience warmth or occasional snapping sensation during the procedure. If you have any pain during the procedure, the laser power can be decreased slightly to eliminate any pain. No anesthesia is needed.
How long does the procedure take?
The amount of time varies on the degree of involvement of the nails. Very thick nails are mechanically reduced to a more normal thickness with specialized equipment. The laser is then applied typically taking only a few minutes. Overall, a visit for consultation and treatment will usually take about 45 minutes.
Can the fungus return or not go away?
The fungal infection is expected to improve with just one treatment. Clinical reports to date have been encouraging with most patients noticing significant improvement. As with all medical procedures, a 100% guarantee is not possible. In addition, since fungus is present everywhere in the environment, reinfection may occur. We will recommend preventative strategies to reduce the chance of reinfection. Changing socks and shoes frequently is helpful, as well as controlling excessive perspiration if present.
Is the laser treatment covered by my health insurance?
No, the procedure is considered cosmetic, and is not covered by health insurance.
How much does laser treatment cost?
The cost varies depending on the number of nails involved and severity of the infection. The national average for laser treatment is between $500 and $1,200. However, since our practice offers the most state-of-the-art laser equipment, we can provide the most effective treatment at a reduced cost. Our fees range between $395 and $944.. The charges are based on the number of nails involved. A second visit is provided within the following twelve months for no additional charge.