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Laser Treatment For Toenail Fungus Now FDA Approved

Updated on March 7, 2012
Are healthy looking nails, eluding you?
Are healthy looking nails, eluding you?

People suffering from unsightly toenail fungus that are having little success with oral prescription medications, topical treatments, or homeopathic remedies now have an alternative. A new technology is available that allows for toenail fungus to be treated with laser technology. The adoption rate amongst podiatrists and dermatologists is expected to grow quickly. The medical procedure uses an infrared laser beam to kill toenail fungus and Patholase, the manufacturer of the Pinpointe Footlaser claim to have over an 80% success rate. Nomir Medical Technologies' Noveon Laser uses a similar system and like the Pinpointe is already being used in the field of dentistry, as well as for eye surgery and hair removal surgery. Another company, CoolTouch Inc. has also entered in to the new frontier of toenail fungus treatment with it's new CoolBreeze laser system.

The good news is that the laser treatment is a lot less scary than it sounds. The Pinpointe laser is hand held and looks much like a normal laser pointer. It is applied by the physician or technician directly to the nail to get rid of any fungal growth behind the exposed nail and goes through the skin to the nail matrix from where the nail grows. While some may think of lasers with a small amount of trepidation, the laser treatment is painless for most people. The laser does generate heat but patients report a tingling sensation.

The laser penetrates the nail plate and not only kills fungus but also wipes out bacteria and viruses. A grid pattern is etched over each nail to make sure every millimeter of the nail is covered. The doctor will treat every one of your nails, even the ones that don't look bad, just in case there is microscopic fungus present that is unseen by the naked eye. This may sound like a slow and tedious process but it's important to hit all areas of the nail, just to be safe. The process takes about thirty minutes, a small amount of time to wait for a toenail fungus cure.

*Photo credit: oddharmonic

Benefits of Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment

The best part about getting laser treatment for your toenail fungus is that it's just one single treatment and the results are immediate. Although the look of your nails does not change right away, it completely eradicates the fungus right then and there. You can get your nails painted right after the treatment and go back to playing sports and being active again. Normally it will take six months or so for your nails to grow back completely clear and normal. This the time it takes nail growth to go from the proximal nail fold (the cuticle area) to the end of the toe.

The ideal candidate for fungus toenails, is someone who has exhausted all other methods of eliminating their infections. With such a high initial success rate, the Pinpoint Footlaser System easily outpaces oral drug treatments and home remedies and can even cure the most extreme cases of toenail fungus.

FDA Approval of Pinpointe, Noveon, and CoolBreeze

  • On October 20, 2010, the Pinpointe Footlaser system was given FDA clearance for the treatment of onychomycosis (toenail fungus) in the United States.
  • On February 8, 2011, the Pinpointe Footlaser system was given Health Canada clearance for the treatment of onychomycosis in Canada. On this day, Pinpointe also introduced the commercial launch of their system in Canada.

As of now, the Pinpointe Foot Laser is the only FDA approved device for use on toenail fungus. Although other devices have been deemed 'FDA cleared' that only means they have been approved for other types of laser surgery although not for treating toenail fungus in particular. Since the FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine, physicians are indeed allowed to use approved devices for other procedures if they feel it will be beneficial.

Alternatives To Pinpointe Laser Treatment

If laser treatment is not in your budget, you may want to try one of several natural cures for toenail fungus. People have gotten results from apple cider vinegar, epsom salt, and tea tree oil. These are healthy alternatives to prescription anti-fungal pharmaceuticals, which can pose a risk to the health of your kidneys.

How Much Does Pinpointe Laser Treatment Cost?

Once you find a podiatrist who does laser surgery on toenails, you can expect to pay anywhere between $900 to $1200 to have it done in most parts of the U.S. The treatment cost isn't covered by medical insurance. 

Summing It All Up: Should You Get This Treatment?

In summary, the benefits of laser toenail fungus treatment are plentiful. There is minimal pain, the procedure is said to be safe and effective, there are no medications to take, and it's just a one time doctor's visit. You'll be in and out in no time and can even get your nails polished as soon as your done.  As usual, talk to your primary physician or podiatrist and ask them about laser treatment for your toenail fungus before deciding.

Pinpointe Footlaser on ABC News


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