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Onychomycosis, or fungal infection of nails—most often on the toes—affects about 12% of Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Some people are genetically prone to it. Others, including swimmers and other athletes, may be more likely to get it because they go barefoot in public areas or because their feet are often damp, scientists say. In its mild forms, nail fungus is merely a cosmetic problem, but over time it can cause toenails to grow abnormally and become painful when walking.Toenail laser treatment offers a new alternative to oral medicationor lasers, it can easily take a year for nails to clear entirely. At Pierini A Solution For Beauty Cosmetic and Laser Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Parkland, and Weston Broward County we are able to treat both the hands and the feet. Podiatrists can only treat the toenails.

Treatments typically take 30 to 45 minutes for up to 10 toes. Depending on the severity of the problem and the laser used, patients may need one to four treatments.

The cost of zapping nail fungus with a laser at Pierini A Solution For Beauty Cosmetic and Laser Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Parkland, and Weston Broward County can range from $350 and higher depending on the severity of your condition for a treatment course. It isn't generally covered by insurance.  

How the lasers work varies and how they affect toenail fungus isn't fully understood in all cases. It is believed that laser inhibits fungal growth, paving the way for the body's own defenses to clear the nail.

So far only Nomir has published evidence of efficacy, but its study is small and short term. A company-funded study of 34 patients and 26 treated toes published last year in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association found that after four laser treatments, 85% of the nails showed new growth without fungus. Of the total, 65% showed at least three millimeters of clear new nail and 26% had at least four millimeters. The study took its final measures six months after treatment, but hasn't yet published the data.

PinPointe supplied The Wall Street Journal a summary of unpublished data from a study looking at 265 patients over two years. In the summary, 71.4% of the patients experienced continuous improvement over a year after a single session with its laser.

If you are willing to risk side effects, the best tested—and likely most effective—treatment for toenail fungus remains oral medications such as Novartis AG's Lamisil, says Bryan C. Markinson, chief of podiatric medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Markinson has been a paid adviser to Novartis and owns stock in Nomir and serves on its medical-advisory board.

According to Lamisil's FDA-approved prescribing information, 3.3% of patients in clinical trials had abnormal levels of liver enzymes, a possible warning sign of liver damage, compared with 1.4% of people taking a placebo. In rare cases, people have needed liver transplants or died from liver failure after taking Lamisil.

To prevent fungus recurrence, you must follow a scrupulous hygiene program, including anti-fungal spray for feet and shoes, not going barefoot, keeping feet clean and dry and changing socks daily, doctors say.

"Patients and some doctors have this expectation that because it's a laser treatment, once you zap it and its gone forever," says Dr. Markinson. "That totally ignores the fact that this is an infectious disease and that recurrence is a certainty" unless good prevention measures are taken., which carries a risk of liver damage, and a nail lacquer, which has poor efficacy.

Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal 2/22/11

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