Laser treatment of Onychomycosis

What is Onychomycosis?

Onychomycosis is an infection of the nails caused by a microscopic fungus (dermatophytes, yeast or moulds), and it's characterized by thick and brittle nails, often with opaque spots and yellowish residue. In some cases, the nail can spontaneously fall off.


Who is at risk of getting it?

Onychomycosis affects about one in ten people (usually elderly people). Risk factors for infection are humidity, excessive sweating and always wearing closed, non-breathable shoes.


Factors related to lifestyle, job or environment

  • Jobs where the use of accident-prevention or sports shoes is necessary.
  • Jobs with frequent water contact.
  • Walking barefoot or playing sports or leisure activities in swimming pools, saunas, changing rooms, ballrooms etc.
  • Lesions or haematomas caused by sports or long walks without wearing suitable shoes


Age-related factors

  • The frequency of nail mycosis increases with age, since nails grow more slowly;
  • Abnormal toe position (overlapping, hallux valgus).


Diseases and intake of medicines

  • Diseases (immunodepression, diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome) or treatments (chemotherapy, cortisone, immunosuppressive therapies, treatments to prevent transplant rejection etc.)
  • Skin diseases causing nail weakness or thickening (psoriasis, lichen planus)


How do you get a fungal nail infection?

You are likely to get dermatophytes by walking barefoot in humid, crowded places (swimming pools, showers etc.).
People coming into contact with humidity too much are more likely to be contaminated by yeast or moulds (excessive hand washing, agro-food industry professionals, health professionals and nursery school staff).


What should you do in case of Onychomycosis?

Go to your family doctor, who will suggest you go see a dermatologist or a podiatrist. These specialists will confirm the infection by taking a nail sample which will be sent to a mycology lab to confirm the diagnosis.
When you get the test results, the specialist will prescribe you the right treatment which may be laser treatment or a topical cream.


What are the effects of the laser?

The laser causes a photothermolytic effect on the mycosis, namely a synergistic therapeutic effect comprising the laser light and gradual heating at high temperature, that eliminates fungi from the nail.


How many sessions are needed?

On average, 4-5 sessions 3 weeks apart.


The essential measures for a rapid recovery are:

  • The treatment can also last for several weeks but it is necessary to heed the doctor’s instructions to avoid recurrences, which are very frequent. 
  • It is very important to regularly visit a podiatrist who will provide you with all the necessary treatments to achieve an effective result. In particular, they will treat the nail so that it can quickly grow again. - It is important to change socks every day and to treat shoes, especially sports or walking shoes, with anti-fungal products in order to eliminate the fungus and avoid its recurrence. 
  • You must avoid walking barefoot in swimming pools and sport venues. You must always wear flip-flops or specific shoes.

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