Laser therapy is a newer treatment available as a means of combating fungus in toenails, or onychomycosis.”]Whether you are young or old, healthy or ill, fungus can find its way into your toenail. Believe it or not, between 20 and 30 million Americans suffer from some variety of ongoing toenail fungus each year. With recent technological developments, podiatrists across the world have been able to take the fight to toenail fungus with laser therapy.
How does Laser Therapy work?
The way it works is very simple; near infra-red laser light is passed over and through your nail to kill the fungus, while there is no damage at all to any of your nails, or your skin. The light literally passes right through your skin without any damage to healthy tissue at all. In fact, on top of no damage, there is also no pain throughout the process, just a feeling of warmth on the nail. Despite being a newer solution to toenail fungus, this technology has been used thousands of times since its creation, and has been proven to work without any side effects. By choosing to use laser therapy to treat your toenail fungus, you circumvent the need for any injections, prescription pills, and laboratory tests. While laser therapy is a great new solution for toenail fungus, there is potential for the fungus to continue. Failures can sometimes result from previous damage to the nail plates either through injury, severe long standing fungus infection, poor circulation, or genetics. Other fungal treatments that exist today come with a variety of pros and cons themselves, however the two prevailing alternatives have inherit flaws as reliable treatments for toenail fungus. Topical creams are inexpensive and easy to use, however they have a very low success rate, less than 18% in fact. The other common treatment is oral medication, which while the success rates are much higher, these pills run the risk of liver toxicity. Using laser therapy as your treatment gives you a quick, safe, and effective means of combating the fungi, molds, and yeasts that cause onychomycosis.
We are very happy to say we are now using the Cutera Genesis Plus laser! This brand new model is changing the game for podiatrists and their treatment of toenail fungus. The most important change is the size of the laser beam itself, on old models the beam only had a diameter of 1millimeter, but now the laser is 5millimeters in diameter. This allows us to be more efficient with the treatment, helping us not miss a single spot, and it makes the whole procedure go a lot faster. Check out the difference in the image. Also, please note, the Genesis Plus is a 1064 nanometer laser, and 1064 nm lasers are the ONLY FDA approved laser on the market.
The Initial Exam
Agoura Los Robles Podiatry Centers requires an initial visit to the office in order to examine a patient and determine whether or not they are a good candidate for the procedure. Once the patient has been approved for the treatment, an appointment will be made for laser therapy as soon as is possible. The treatment itself only lasts 15-30 minutes, and you are free to leave as soon as the procedure is complete. There will not be an immediate visual reduction in fungus in the nail. Laser therapy does indeed slow the growth of fungus, and kills it as well, but you need to wait for the toenail to grow out for visual confirmation the procedure has worked.
What to do Before Laser Treatment
While there is not much that needs to be done before you come in for your laser treatment, there are two things to keep in mind to maximize the potential of the procedure. The first and most important is to wear NO toenail polish on your nails seven days before and up to your appointment. Secondly, wear clean socks each day for that week beforehand, and of course do your best to continually rotate fresh socks into your wardrobe.
Costs and Appointments
This initial exam will be charged to your insurance as would any office visit, and should you not have insurance or not wish to use it, the cost will be $100.
$400-600 – TWO TREATMENTS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. If you decide laser treatment is right for you, the charge is $400 for up to five nails and $600 when all 10 are done. This fee includes TWO laser treatments six weeks apart. While the second Laser Treatment is included in this cost, not included, is a regular office visit fee of $45.
$100 RE-TREATMENT: Most of the time we recommend retreating the nails every 3 months until they grow out clear and clean. Each laser treatment usually gets the nails incrementally more healthy looking. Regular re-treatment usually results in a better outcome. Some people get nails so clear and clean after the initial treatment that re-treatment is unnecessary. Other patients have improved nails but only so long as they keep receiving re-treatment. We even expect that some patients will require one or two re-treatments a year to maintain healthy looking nails. We have priced re-treatments to a new affordable price of $100 a session for any number of nails plus the office visit and debridement fee.
Laser therapy is not covered by most insurance companies.
You can also apply for CareCredit, a healthcare specific credit agency, at this link here. Carecredit has two basic payment plans that help meet each individual’s needs, and we encourage you check them out on their website. One is a No Interest Plan, to be paid off in 3 to 24 months. The other is an Extended Payment Plan with competitive interest rates, to be paid off in 24-60 months.
If you are coming from a long distance and would like to have the procedure performed on the same day as your initial evaluation, please let the receptionist know so they can schedule accordingly.
Follow-up appointments are treated the same as any follow-up would be, is a charge of $50, and may be billed to your insurance. Should you desire to have laser therapy again after your initial treatment, it will cost you $100.
To make an appointment, or find out more information about laser therapy at Agoura Los Robles Podiatry Centers, please call 818.707.3668.
For more information regarding the laser we use here at Agoura Los Robles Podiatry Centers, please check out the Cutera Genesis-Plus at the website here.