When nail fungus rears its ugly head it can be a seriously frustrating problem. It begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. It can affect several nails and sometimes even spread. To make matters worse, it’s tricky to treat and there doesn’t seem to be one solution for all. If left alone and not treated, it’s unlikely to get better. If you’re not bothered by it, you might decide it’s not worth treating since treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects and isn’t always effective. If it does concern you, we’ll help you identify a few ways you can restore clear, healthy nails.
Nail Fungus Treatment Options
Since the virus lives in the nail bed (the part beneath the skin that we can’t see), treatment is challenging. Topical ointments are largely ineffective because they don’t penetrate into the nail bed, although they are a great way to keep it under control. The standard treatment is taking oral antifungal medications, such as Lamisil. The oral medication travels to the nail bed via the blood stream but the downside is the medication has to be taken from three to nine months. Some people claim that while the fungus doesn’t seem to be there anymore, their nail remains disfigured or doesn’t grow. Plus, many are reluctant to take oral antifungal medications because in very rare cases they may cause liver damage. When all else fails, some patients elect to have their toenail removed and the nail matrix medically destroyed to prevent the nail from growing back. You should visit your family physician, a dermatologist or a podiatrist (foot doctor) to ensure you receive a correct diagnosis before seeking out treatment.
Lasers for Nail Rejuvenation
At NuAGE Laser, we’re not podiatrists and therefore we cannot claim to treat nail fungus. However, we can rejuvenate the toenail for improved appearance and health. The laser selectively heats the nail and spares the healthy surrounding tissue. It’s useful for stimulating blood flow and speeding up the growth process by revitalizing the nail and skin. We’ve seen significant improvement on newly infected nails and toenails. We haven’t seen 100% improvement on toenails infected for more than five years, though this is true for oral medications as well. For severe cases, multiple approaches may be the most beneficial. For example, a patient could treat toenail fungus with oral medication and undergo laser treatments to restore nail health.
The Logistics of the Laser
The toenail rejuvenation process at our downtown Vancouver laser clinic involves passing a laser beam over the nails and surrounding skin. Your certified NuAGE laser technician will repeat this several times until enough energy has reached the nail bed. We’re often asked if laser treatments hurt but believe it or not, it’s virtually painless. Your nail will feel warm during the procedure almost like your having your toenails blow-dried.
The number of sessions required to achieve clearer nails will depend on how severely the nail has been misshapen and how long it’s been that way. The minimum is three sessions spaced six weeks apart. We recommend continuing with sessions every few months until your nail has grown out completely. You won’t see any visible change immediately. In a few months, a more normal nail will start to appear though complete regrowth can take nine to 24 months. From our experience, the nail tends to grow slowly and waiting for the cell turnover to kick in and for a healthier nail to replace the old damaged one is the hard part.
Are you ready to show off clearer, healthier toenails? Contact NuAGE Laser today to set up a free consultation. Once you’ve received a diagnosis from your physician, we’ll go over everything you need to know about our Vancouver laser toenail rejuvenation procedure. With patience and the right treatments, you can go barefoot with confidence again.