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Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is prevalent worldwide and up until now, has had very limited, ineffective, and undesirable treatment options. These options include topical antifungal creams that cannot penetrate the nail adequately to completely eradicate fungus, oral antifungals that are hepatotoxic, or permanent removal of the nail.
Now Orange County Foot & Ankle Group has a new technology, called ClearSense that safely treats onychomycosis by heating the nail and the nail bed with laser energy. The result is a decrease of nail fungus, and temporary increase in the growth of clear nails.
A typical treatment for all ten toes is 15-20 minutes, and normal activity can resume immediately following treatment. Our surgeons have our patient’s maximum comfort and safety in mind, while ensuring maximum efficiency and treatment success. The laser has been FDA cleared for treatment in patients with onychomycosis.
How does the laser treatment work?
The laser heats the nail and the nail bed with laser energy resulting in a decrease of nail fungus and an increase in the growth of clear nails. The treatment involves passing the laser beam over the infected nails and surrounding skin. Our surgeons will repeat this until enough energy has reached the nail bed. Your nail will feel warm during the treatment. After we determine you have nail fungus, the treatment may be performed with no down time.
What can patients expect using the laser treatment?
Before Treatment – Clip and debride toenails, and remove any nail polish.
During Treatment – The doctor will wipe each nail clean with an alcohol wipe to make sure there is no dirt or debris. Baseline photos will be taken to document nail growth. At the time of treatment you may feel a mild to moderate heat sensation.
After Treatment – You can resume normal activity immediately after treatment, with no downtime. Nail polish can be applied 24 hours after the treatment. Use new shoes and wash socks thoroughly in hot water.
Long Term – Follow up photographs will be taken to document nail growth. Over the next several months, most patients see some degree of continuous growth of clear healthy nails.
How many treatments are needed?
Most infections improve after one 15-20 minute treatment. Immediately following treatment, no visual change in the nail will be detected, as it takes time for the clear nail to grow out. The number of treatments will vary depending on the severity of the nail fungus. After the initial treatment, most physicians will follow up 2-4 weeks before a second treatment may be recommended.
What are the possible side effects?
No significant side effects have been reported. You may feel slight discomfort associated with heat during treatment, but there is no pain involved post treatment. Patients may also see mild redness briefly after the treatment but this should resolve in 24 hours.