Tampa Podiatrist: The Truth About Laser Toenail Fungus Treatments

Toenail fungus can be a devastating problem for many. The condition can cause embarrassment and sometimes even pain. In addition, these toenail infections can spread to family and friends. So it is no wonder that people are desperate for the best treatment possible to rid them of this unsightly condition. There are so many types of treatments and all of these options can be difficult to navigate. To date laser has the highest success rate when done properly by an understanding podiatrist.

Your podiatrist must give you the real facts and educate you on how to maintain your success.
The treatments for toenail fungus can include topical liquids, creams, sprays, pills, toenail removal and laser. I would like to break each of these down and give you a real understanding of their uses and success rates.

The liquids, creams and sprays may be prescription, over-the-counter or natural remedies. All of these have similar success rates of about 5-10%. In my opinion these are excellent maintenance products once you have had a treatment with a higher success rate. These products can help prevent reinfection of the nails and skin.

The most popular oral medication or pill is Terbinafine (aka Lamisil). This medication seems to be able to clear the nail in less than 50% of cases. Many people do not want to take this medication as it can cause liver problems, taste loss and other problems. Before starting this medication, your doctor can draw blood and make sure that your liver enzymes are normal. Some recent studies have shown that taking the medication 1 week every 3 months for a year may be an excellent addition to treatments with laser with fewer side effects.

A toenail can be removed and allowed to grow back, however, without treatment the nail will grow back with fungus. In some cases nails can be removed and then treated with laser. In resistant cases, this is what I recommend. In some cases, a permanent removal of the nail is chosen. No nail grows back and there is only skin in place of the nail.
The most exciting breakthrough is a laser that is used to destroy toenail fungus. Success rates are measured by the amount of nail clearing that occurs. Real studies are few. Most studies have been performed by the companies trying to show that their laser is superior. I can only base results on my experience having treated several thousand people over the last 2-3 years. Excellent results have been obtained with 70-80% of people having complete nail clearing. Notice that the word cure is not used as fungal infections are constantly in our environment and can be cleared and maintained but no promise of a cure can be had.

Anyone that promises you a cure or tells you that the infection cannot come back after treatment is not being honest with you.

For the most successful treatment, three to four treatments are needed 3 weeks apart and once there is clearing it must be maintained ideally with future laser treatments. Maintenance laser treatments are done 1-4 times per year. If you are going to spend the time and money and want the best result, you must understand that there is no cure and future treatments are needed.

Laser is by far the best and most successful treatment for toenail fungus. Just make sure that you are receiving the best treatment and being told the real facts to optimize your success. The ultimate goal of the doctor and patient should be the same and that is that you have the best outcome.

If you would like the best laser treatment in Tampa Bay, call Dr. Marc Katz for an immediate appointment.