As a common condition that affects up to 10% of the world’s population, nail fungus (onychomycosis) is an infection that can be contracted from fungus present everywhere in the environment, especially in places like swimming pools, gyms and spas, or public showers. Cutera’s Genesis Laser is an effective treatment option that can help eliminate fungus and restore a clear, healthy appearance to nails.
The difference with laser treatment
While oral and topical treatments are also available to patients, laser treatment offers quick, effective results without adverse side effects or prolonged recovery time. Oral drugs, while they are found to be quite effective in treating nail fungus, often must be taken long periods of time and can be accompanied by harsh side effects like headache, upset stomach, or skin rash. Topical ointment treatments avoid these side effects, but they also must be administered for extended periods of time and are often ineffective because they can’t penetrate the nail to the site of the infection. Laser treatment bypasses the surface of the nail and skin, emitting light energy that is absorbed by the fungus, thereby heating it and killing or damaging the fungal organism. Patients will often notice a difference with a single treatment and with little to no side effects.
Those who suffer from fungal infection often show the following symptoms and can benefit the most from laser therapy:
- Discolored nails with white spots on top of the nail or underlying yellow streaks
- Distorted, thickened nails
- Brittle, ragged, or crumbly nails
- Nails separated from the underlying skin
- Buildup of nail fragments or skin under the nail
Treatment and recovery
Treatment frequency will vary depending upon the severity of the infection. Patients should work with their doctors to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
The procedure itself is safe and comfortable. Prior to a treatment, nail polish must be removed and the nails and fingers or toes must be cleaned. During the procedure, the laser is passed over the affected nails and the surrounding skin, and patients will often describe experiencing a warming sensation or a small, hot pinch at the end that fades quickly. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes to treat 5 to 10 nails, and patients can immediately resume their normal daily activities.
Following a treatment, the patient will be able to observe new, healthy nails growing from the base of the nail bed. Depending on the patient’s nail growth, it may take as long as 12 months before the old infected nail is completely replaced by a clear, healthy nail. The permanence of the results can depend on environmental factors and the continuance of preventative measures.