Fungal toenail infection also known as onychomycosis is a common problem in Australia due to our temperate climate, outdoor lifestyle along with use of shared change facilities such as at gyms and swimming pools.
There are however many limitations with most current onychomycosis treatments. Topical nail lacquers and solutions only have a very low cure rate for these infections and must be applied for many months or even years. Although there are several oral medications available for more effectively treating this common problem they come with the warning that they should not be routinely used for this indication due to significant and serious liver toxicity risks.
The Ellipse Nd:YAG has proven to be a useful alternative treatment for this condition. It is safe and unlike many other laser onychomycosis treatments is also relatively comfortable given the pulse technology used, the 'painting' technique utilised and its inbuilt cooling system. Controlled published studies suggest this laser has a cure rate similar to oral medications but without the associated toxicity concerns.
This involves a 10minute monthly treatment over a four month period. The exact mechanism by which laser treatment of onychomycosis works is not known. Heating of the fungal cells along with sub-millisecond 'photoacoustic' weakening of the fungal cell wall are thought to be part of the mechanism by which this treatment works.