Onychomycosis is a fungal infection usually caused by a special type of fungus known as a dermatophyte. These sorts of fungi are generally confined to the outer layers of the skin and gradually progress to involve the nail plate. Onychomycosis is particularly common in toenails of older men but can affect of the nails of individuals of any age and gender. The treatment of onychomycosis is complicated by the fact that these fungi live in dead tissue, and getting medications to these sites is problematic.
Currently accepted treatments include relatively ineffective topical therapies and reasonably effective oral treatments that are associated with some degree of risk. Both approaches require a long duration of treatment and can be somewhat costly. Most experts agree that surgical approaches like removing the nail plate are ineffective.
It is into this environment that the use of lasers has been thrust. Lasers have become a technologically advanced approach to the treatment of a variety of human diseases. Lasers produce coherent light energy of a sufficient strength and of a specific wavelength that, when projected into tissue, is differentially absorbed by the target material, producing heat and hence tissue destruction. Other tissue components are unaffected and remain unharmed.
Traditional approaches to treating toenail fungus are largely limited to oral drugs that are associated with adverse side effects and prescription topicals and home remedies that have not been proven effective and in some cases can have adverse side effects. Despite limitations associated with these approaches, however, it is estimated that Americans currently spend about $2.1 billion annually on treating toenail fungus with prescription drugs alone.
Given the serious emotional, social, and financial impact of toenail fungus, it is important to note the benefits of this technology.
Please call our Chicago podiatry office at (847) 390-7666 if you have any additional questions about laser treatment for toenail fungus, and we will be happy to provide you with all the information that you may need. With 15 podiatry offices in and around the Chicago area, there is sure to be an office near you!