Fungal infection of the toenails (also known
as onychomycosis) can be a very frustrating and stubborn medical problem to deal with. Not only can
it be unsightly, but sometimes can cause significant pain for the patient, producing shoe pressure and even ingrown toenails.
Even more frustrating is that common topical antifungals treatments, such as creams for athlete's foot, are not effective
in treating onychomycosis, as they cannot penetrate the nail plate to reach where the fungus actually lives.
the only effective treatment for onychomycosis was to take an oral antifungal pill by mouth, but all medicines have the possibility
of producing unpleasant side effects. For those patients who are not able (due to health issues or other medications
being taken) or do not wish to take an oral antifungal medication, the Cutera laser is an excellent alternative
Before deciding if laser treatment is appropriate for you, the doctor will take a sample of your
nail and have it tested to see if fungus is actually present. Quite often, changes to the nail are simply due to trauma,
whether it be from one certain injury, or repetitive trauma over time from shoes or sports. In these cases, the laser treatment will not work.
The laser treatment is done in 3 separate sessions,
with 2 months in between each treatment to allow for further nail growth. Treatments typically last about 30 minutes, and
are virtually pain-free. Some patients relate a feeling of some heat building up, but this dissipates quickly and is very
tolerable. Special glasses are worn during treatment to protect your eyes from the laser.
Laser nail treatment is currently
not covered by health insurance plans, because at this time it is considered a cosmetic procedure. Dr.
Johansson charges $700 for 3 sessions, which is paid in full at the time of the first treatment. Occasionally,
in more stubborn cases, additional treatments are needed. In these cases, the additional treatments are $100
*** It is very important to note that, while proven effective in most patients, the laser
treatment does not work for everyone, and is not guaranteed to produce results.