Update On Q-Clear Laser Treatment For Toenail Fungus
It has now been one year since our practice (Neuhaus Foot & Ankle) became the first medical practice in Tennessee to start using the Q-clear laser for the treatment of toenail fungus (onychomycosis). It is time for an update. We have treated over 500 patients thus far. The response to this new technology has been phenomenal. What we have learned is there is a tremendous need for this new technology. Toenail fungus is extremely prevalent and can be difficult to treat. Lasers are an innovative new option in the battle for clear nails. But does the new treatment work?
What we have learned so far is it is a quick and painless procedure. It takes less than 10 minutes to treat all 10 toenails. We have seen no side effects. Initially we were recommending only one treatment, but over the past year we have learned our success with moderate to severe nail disease requires more than one treatment. We are currently recommending a treatment every three months if there is more than superficail disease. However, in mild cases we have seen some impressive results with complete clearing with only one laser treatment.
Overall, we are seeing success rates that are as good or better than that seen with Lamisil. Lamisil is an oral medication that is taken once a day for 3 months. It is recommended that labwork is performed before starting Lamisil because it can be hard on the liver. Those patients with underlying liver disease should not take oral Lamisil. With Lamisil it is pretty well documented that nail clearing will occur in about 65-70% of patients. With the laser we are seeing about 75% clearing. While there is no guarantee that fungal nails will be completely clear after any treatment we have seen that the laser does indeed work very well. With both the oral medication and the laser it is important to remember that it will take 6-12 months from the start of treatment to see the complete effects of the treatment. Nails grow very slowly.
One problem with the treatment of nail fungus is that of recurrence. There is a recurrence rate of approximately 10-20% with onychomycosis. There are a few things that can be done to help decrease the risk of recurrence. First, understanding that nail fungus is caused by a fungus. It is an infection. Fungus lives in the environment and most people are exposed to it on a daily basis. There are several over the counter products we recommend be used to help prevent recurrence and even attack fungal infections:
- Formula 3-A topical medication applied like nail polish directly to the nail.
- Tineacide Cream-Used to treat the skin surrounding the nails to prevent or treat athletes foot.
- Tineacide Anti-fungal Shoe Spray-A spray used to treat organisms living on the skin and in the shoes.
- Sterishoe-A device inserted directly into the shoe used to "disinfect" the shoes when they are not being worn. The Sterishoe uses ultraviolet light to kill any and all fungus exposed to the light.
- Dr. Remedy Nail Polish-Medicated nail polish for those who like to keep there nails polished. Does not treat infections but can be preventative.
While it will take a full 6-12 months to see the results of this new procedure it does work. We are excited to offer this cutting edge treatment for nail fungus in our office. Check out our website, www.nashvilletoenailfungus.com, for more info and before/after pictures.
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