Laser surgery for toenail fungus

by Professor

A fungal infection of the toenails is not life threatening and is generally not going to be painful, but those with it certainly are embarrassed by it. It is common as the fungal agents just love the dark and moist environment inside the shoe where it thrives. There are many different treatments for this. The long term success rate of many is not that good, primarily as the foot keeps getting placed back into the environment (ie the shoe) that predisposed to it in the first place.

A recent new therapy for this being promoted is laser surgery for toenail fungus. There are plenty of newspaper advertisements and You Tube videos on laser surgery for toenail fungus touting it as the magical cure. Its not. There is no research that yet really shows the success rate. All that there is, is an unpublished study from one of the companies with the machine that involved 16 people and has not been published in a peer review journal for scrutiny. The device for its use has recently been approved for use by the FDA, but that approval just says its safe and not that it actually works. Many of those touting its success on You Tube, could not have even had use of the machine for enough time, as up to six months or more is needed to see if any therapy for this actually works (not to mention the potential for it happening again due to the shoe thing). One of the companies promoting the machine is selling territories and that is a bad way to practice medicine. I have spoken to a number of colleagues who practice in the same area as someone who uses the machine for laser surgery for toenail fungus and there are a lot of unhappy patients out there. No wonder the insurance companies will not cover it.

There is no doubt that laser surgery for toenail fungus has potential. More research is needed as to its success rate compared to the currently used methods. More importantly, any method of treatment is destined to fail if something is not done about the shoe thing.

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