Frequently Asked Questions
Yag lasers vs Cold lasers for the treatment of fungal nail infection.
Cold lasers, also known as low level lasers, are small inexpensive devices that utilise a wavelength of light at 635nm. This light is delivered through LEDs. They are generally used to promote tissue repair, reduce pain and inflammation. Such lasers are commonly used by Physiotherapists and Chiropractors to treat soft tissue injuries and can be used to treat the same kind of conditions that therapeutic ultrasound is used for. Low level lasers were indeed specifically designed for such conditions not for the treatment of fungal nail infections.
Cold or low level lasers have been used now for many years and predate the Cutera and Pinpointe foot lasers which were introduced in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
Do cold lasers work in the same way as the Yag Cutera and Pinpointe foot lasers?
No, cold lasers are very different to the larger more powerful Cutera and Pinpointe Yag foot lasers.
The world’s first two antifungal nail lasers (Pinpointe and Cutera) were specifically designed to treat fungal nail infections alone. They use a wavelength of 1064 nm, the choice of wavelength was arrived at after years of painstaking research.
To date the United States Government has only approved the Pinpointe and Cutera lasers for the treatment of fungal nail infection. This is based on evidence of effectiveness alone.
Unlike the Pinpopinte and Cutera lasers, low level lasers are unable to destroy and deactivate fungus in laboratory conditions. It is thought however that low level laser therapy may stimulate the body’s immune system to recognise and respond to the fungal infection. This however is unlikely as previous evidence suggests that many fungal infections are highly resistant to the activities of the human immune system.
To date the only two reliable ways of dealing with fungal nail infection are by heating and destroying – denaturing – the fungus in the nail through the Yag Cutera and Pinpointe lasers or by using drug therapy either topical or systemic.
At present (March 2012) there is no published evidence that shows low level or cold lasers are an effective treatment for fungal nail infection.
How long does the laser treatment take?
We allocate an hour for your appointment and the laser treatment usually takes 30-50 minutes to complete.
How much does the initial consultation cost?
We do not charge for the initial consultation element of the treatment in order to determine if you are a suitable candidate for laser treatment.
How can I pay for the laser nail therapy?
We accept cash and most major credit and debit cards with the exception of American Express.
We are also able to offer 0% finance over 6 or 10 months, please call us on 0845 224 2576 for more information.
Can I have laser nail treatment for just one infected nail?
All the clinical studies involving laser treatment for fungal nail infection have always treated all ten nails. This is to reduce the chance of cross infection and to maximize the chance of treatment success. On occasion we have departed from the manufactures protocols and treated a single nail. We have found such treatments ineffective, resulting in high rates of treatment failure. We would now rather not treat you at all than accept a reduced fee for the treatment of one or two nails.
The only exception to this policy is for finger nails. Fingernails are not close packed in dark moist environments and as such the risk of cross infection is negligible.
Toe nails particularly, as they are tightly packed in socks and shoes, are a high risk for fungal spores spreading.
Does laser treatment for nail fungus work on finger nails?
The PinPointe FootLaser can be used on finger nails fungus. Fingernail laser treatment is assessed on a case by case basis.
In some finger nail fungus infections all the nails would be treated, in others, just the infected or neighbouring fingernails.
How effective is the laser nail treatment?
In the first studies, laser therapy for nail fungus was found to be 88% effective from one treatment. Since those first clinical studies, thousands of laser nail treatments have been carried out and we believe the effectiveness to be in the region of 70% effective for each infected nail treated.
Is there any pain involved with laser nail treatment?
This is a difficult to answer as people have such vastly different pain thresholds. Some people we treat may experience mild to moderate discomfort during treatment, particularly people with darker skin tones.
Will I be tested for fungal nail infection?
There are specific signs and details that the podiatrist will look for that will indicate a fungal nail infection. If there is any doubt in diagnosis then your nail clippings will be sent for testing, however there is a 30% risk of the results providing false negatives.
Can I claim for laser treatment on my health insurance?
Many of the large insurers are assessing each claim on a case by case basis, so you will need to contact your insurer. You can claim back some laser treatment costs via certain cash-back scheme, such as Westfield.
Are the laser practitioners qualified?
All laser practitioners have, and continue to receive, laser manufacturers training and have been certified accordingly. We are also members to the World Association For Laser Therapy.
Should I remove my nail varnish prior to treatment?
YES – Nail Varnish should be removed at least 24 hours prior to laser treatment for fungal nail infection.
How long do I have to wait for treatment if I have used Phytex nail paint or Curanail or Loceryl treatments?
All of the above products interact with the laser. We recommend that you discontinue such nail treatments at least two weeks before receiving laser treatment for nail fungus infections.
What should I do to reduce my chances of re-infection?
Steps should definitely be taken to avoid re-infection, this is because the infection can return if the fungus or athlete’s foot infection is able to gain access to the nail or foot.
It is worth remembering that the athlete’s foot infection is part of the same family of infection that causes fungal nail infection. Therefore if your shoes harbor the athlete foot spores you are likely to re-infect your nails. We suggest that you regularly apply antifungal creams or sprays and that you should avoid walking barefoot in wet public areas and that you should dry and decontaminate your shoes regularly with a good, effective shoe sanitiser.
What is the best way to reduce my overall chance of re-infection?
Toe nail fungus requires a moist warm dark environment to thrive. The best way of reducing your risk of re-infection is to use a shoe sanitiser as often as you can but at least two to three times per week. The sanitiser will disrupt the environment within the shoe that fungus needs.
The Peet GO Shoe Sanitiser completely drys the shoes out and neutralizes fungal spores and bacteria with UV light.
Why is it important to have dry shoes?
With more than 250,000 sweat glands in each foot, your feet are among the most perspiring parts of the body. In one day, each foot can produce more than a pint of sweat, resulting in saturation your shoes. Without the use of a shoe sanitiser your saturated shoes require at least 24 hours for them to adequately dry out.
Our hands have a comparable number of sweat glands so why don’t fingers suffer from the same rates of fungal nail infection as our toes?
Apart from the fact that fingers are exposed to light the answer lies within our socks and shoes. The sweat our feet produce can’t easily escape into the air like the sweat from our hands. It all collects on our skin and in our socks and in the fabric of the shoe. Fungi and bacteria thrive in warm dark, damp environments such as damp shoes. Increased foot moisture is therefore a key ingredient for fungal nail infection.
Regular use of the shoe sanitiser will keep your shoes dry and smelling fresh and most importantly reduce your chance of re-infection of nail fungus.