Laser treatment for toenail fungusAt Minars Dermatology, we have a new laser for treatment of toe nail fungus.
How does laser treatment compare to taking a pill?
Popular treatments for toenail fungus involve taking a pill. The pill is effective (about 80% of the time), but some people don’t like taking pills. The pill requires months of treatment and for some people who are taking multiple other medicines, the pill is just not an option because of possible drug interactions.
How does laser treatment work?
A light beam is shined on your nail. The beam travels through the nail where it heats up and kills the fungus. New, healthy nail gradually grows out, replacing the yellowed nail.
How many treatments will I need? Is it painful?
Most of the time, you will need just one or two treatments, and treatment takes only a few minutes. The treatment is not painful, and you will be able to walk out of the office after the procedure. New, healthy nails should be visible during the first 3 months, with complete nail replacement in 6 to 9 months.
How well does the treatment work?
This is a relatively new technology, and only a few studies have been done by doctors. Overall, the success rate is around 70%. In one study , 37 toenails of 13 people were treated with a laser, and 81% of nails were moderately to completely cleared; 51% were completely cleared. In another, smaller study , seven of eight people treated with a laser for two or three treatments had their fungus disappear. A third study  reported an 85% success rate treating toenail fungus with a laser. No side effects were reported, and people who were treated were happy with the procedure.
Will the fungus come back?
This is possible. The problem of a fungus recurring after treatment is common to all treatment methods for toenail fungus (pills, cream, and lasers). The laser can only treat a current infection and cannot prevent new infections. Practicing good foot hygiene and using a topical anti-fungal cream may help prevent new infections.
How much does it cost?
Unfortunately, insurance does not cover the cost because it is considered a cosmetic procedure. We charge $250 to treat two nails, $350 for four nails, and $500 for all 10 nails (typically one to two treatments spaced 1 month apart. Note: cost is per treatment).
 Kimura U et al. Treating onychomycoses of the toenail: clinical efficacy of the sub-millisecond 1,064 nm Nd: YAG laser using a 5 mm spot diameter. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2012; 11(4): 496-504.
 Hochman LG et al. Laser treatment of onychomycosis using a novel 0.65-millisecond pulsed Nd:YAG 1064-nm laser. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2011; 13(1): 2-5.
 Landsman AS et al. Treatment of Mild, Moderate, and Severe Onychomycosis Using 870- and 930-nm Light Exposure. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. 2010; 100: 166-177.