So you’ve decided that you really have to do something about your toenail fungus. You may have tried topical creams, OTC treatments, or even oral medication, with limited success. You’ve heard about how laser treatment can be used to treat your infection and you’re ready to give it a go.
So how many laser treatments does it take to remove toenail fungus? Well, this depends on the severity of the infection and the quality of the treatment. We’ll discuss the details here.
You’ve had enough of avoiding sandals, staying away from the beach, and eschewing any other situation where you bare your feet. The time has come to do something about it!
How Do Laser Treatments Work?
Toenail fungus, which is also called onychomycosis, is an infection that manifests as a thickening and discoloration underneath the nail. This process can also cause the nail to separate from the nail bed.
About 10% of the general population suffers from toenail fungus at any one time, while this percentage rises the older you get. It’s very common!
Although mainly considered a cosmetic problem, onychomycosis (which can also affect the fingernails) reduces the blood supply to the nail bed.
It can even be caused because of your genetic makeup, or if you have a history of fungal infections or psoriasis.
If you smoke, frequent swimming pools, or wear shoes or sneakers that are either too tight or make your feet sweat, then you’re also more prone to getting the fungus.
The American Family Physician published a study in 2019 that found patients having laser treatment on toenail fungus had a 91% improvement in their symptoms after six months of treatment, concluding that they are far more effective than using topical creams and/or antifungal medications.
There are many types of lasers, including those available for home use. Depending on which one your orthopedic doctor will use, the treatment protocol will vary.
How Many Laser Treatments Does it Take to Remove Toenail Fungus?
Well, the simple answer to this question is that it all depends on a number of different factors. These include:
- How many laser treatments you’ll need
- How many infected nails you have and their severity
- Which type of laser is being used and the time it takes
- Your age and overall health
In general, though, most toenail fungus can be eliminated within three to four sessions over a 12-week time span.
The mainly pain-free treatments typically last around 15-20 minutes. The only slight discomfort you may feel is heat on your skin when the laser is on. But as soon as it’s moved, you won’t feel it.
The aim of laser treatment to remove toenail fungus is to completely kill the fungus and any spores left in the nail that could cause a reinfection.
The nails themselves are actually ‘dead’ material like your hair. They don’t have the capability to heal themselves. Therefore, the laser has to do all the work, especially to the spores.
Once the healthy nail starts growing out, any damage will begin to disappear. This process can take up to a year, although many sufferers notice a significant difference after the first session.
You don’t get that real immediate feedback doing toenail fungus treatments, so it can feel frustrating.
The infected nail (or nails) will be pre-treated before your first laser session, which will also give your doctor time to see if there is any surrounding skin that is also infected.
Your doctor will need to make sure that all of the fungus will be attacked.
As mentioned, there are many different types of lasers used to treat toenail fungus. The Q-Clear compact laser system is the gold standard when it comes to getting the job done fast and efficiently.
The Q-Clear is suitable for use on all skin types and uses a pulse wavelength that is not only gentler to the surrounding skin, but is also able to penetrate the nail bed to kill spores.
But there are even home laser treatments for toenail fungus, using small lasers that clamp on to the toe.
These are surprisingly inexpensive, but of course they’re not going to be as powerful as a laser treatment from a doctor. Still, they’re worth a shot if your infection is recent and not too severe.
One Treatment Wonder
Laser treatment for your toenail fungus using the Q-Clear will give impressive results. One study showed that 97% of cases had completely cleared their infections with just one treatment.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t be covered by insurance for your toenail fungus laser treatment.
This is because it’s considered a cosmetic procedure, even if you have a painful ingrown toe as a result of your toenail fungus.
And it’s an expensive process, with each treatment costing in the realm of $600. However, any good podiatry and foot care clinic will offer a payment plan to ease the shock on your bank account.
So now you know how many laser treatments it takes to remove toenail fungus. And if you act fast, you can show off your feet this summer without added anxiety.