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There are several treatment options for nail fungus: external means for application (cream or varnish), internal treatment with tablets or capsules, and the nail fungus laser.
Can the laser cure nail fungus? For whom is the treatment laser against nail fungus suitable? When should nail fungus be treated with laser? You will find out in a moment.
Infection of nails with a fungal pathogen is not only a cosmetic problem. Nail fungus spreads throughout the nail, destroys it, and can lead to painful inflammation.
Why is the laser used for nail fungus?
When the symptoms of nail fungus (both toenails and fingernails) are already advanced, other treatment attempts (varnish, cream, or fungus) against onychomycosis of the nails have not been successful; doctors choose the nail fungus laser.
The latest nail fungus laser devices have very few side effects and precisely remove the fungus on the nail while sparing the healthy nail substance of the nail plate, the nail bed, as well as the surrounding skin.
Thus, they cause mild to no pain, and the risk of application against nail fungus is shallow.
This type of treatment against nail fungus has been approved by the FDA since 2010 and is also certified by the EU.
The form of treatment with a nail fungus laser also existed earlier. A carbon dioxide laser was used against the nail fungus, which also destroyed the healthy nail. This caused pain in the nail bed, unlike the newer laser.
Advantages and disadvantages of laser treatment against nail fungus
- Very few side effects
- Fast execution
- High recurrence rate
- Costs are not covered by health insurance
- Not suitable for diabetics and vascular diseases
What are the different types of lasers?
Various models are available today for therapy with a laser against nail fungus:
- Neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser (e.g. PinPointe Footlaser).
- Diode laser (e.g. Lunula)
The PinPointe Footlaser (also known as Nd: Yag laser) is most commonly used for laser treatment of nail fungus.
This laser uses patented technology. The pulsing and spot size of the laser is specifically designed to treat nail fungus.
The laser beam penetrates the nails and kills the fungi responsible for the infection. Surrounding parts of the nail are spared.
Exactly how the fungus and fungal spores are killed during this therapy is not yet fully understood. However, it is assumed that the heat or evaporation of the water by the nail fungus laser kills the fungus in the nails.
At some wavelengths, free radicals form that harm the fungi by activating the immune defenses.
There are also theories that the nail fungus is harmed by energy absorption of the color pigments.
Another assumption is that the increased blood circulation and unique immunological processes bring about the recovery of the nails.
Whether the therapy of the fungi also destroys the spores is not yet known.
How long does a laser treatment against nail fungus last?
The duration of nail fungus treatment depends on the severity of the nail disease. It can usually take several months until the nail fungus is defeated.
The treatment sessions with the doctor can take place at intervals of one to four weeks. In one session, laser treatment takes about 10 minutes per foot.
First, the nail to be treated is abraded. Then the nail fungus treatment begins with the laser against the fungus. Apart from a slight feeling of warmth or tingling, the patient should not feel any side effects.
Laser treatment of the nails usually lasts for several months. This method has very few side effects because only the fungus and not the healthy nail are fought!
After the effect of the laser against nail fungus is not yet wholly clarified, one does not know precisely whether the laser kills the fungus ultimately or only reduces it.
Therefore, to avoid a new outbreak of nail fungus, an antifungal drug for external treatment (nail polish, cream) should be applied following the laser therapy.
What is the cost of treatment with laser against nail fungus?
The cost of treatment with a nail fungus laser at the doctor is relatively high (about 70-120 $ per session).
Do health insurance companies cover the costs?
Unfortunately, the costs are not covered by statutory health insurance. Laser therapy for nail fungus is considered an individual health benefit by public health insurance companies.
Laser treatment of nail fungus is costly and is unfortunately not covered by health insurance.
Private health insurance companies reimburse the treatment costs in many cases but require proof of medical necessity.
The high costs are probably the most significant disadvantage of laser treatment.
Alternatively, a nail fungus laser can be ordered for home use.