How It Works
Laser devices emit pulses of energy that produce heat. When used to treat onychomycosis, the laser is directed so the heat will penetrate through the toenail to the nail bed where the fungus is present.
For this type of treatment, CO2 lasers or yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) lasers with wavelengths of 870 nm, 930 nm, or 1320 nm are used to increase the localized temperature. In response to the heat, the infected tissue is gasified and decomposed, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nail. The heat from the lasers also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth.
When used safely, laser treatment doesn’t emit enough energy to destroy all the tissue—or all of the infection. For that reason, repeat treatment is typically needed. The fungal growth is inhibited and some of the fungal microorganisms are destroyed, but since the infection can partially survive the treatment, it’s unlikely that you will be completely cured with just one session.
Several types of laser devices have been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of onychomycosis, including PinPointe Footlaser, GenesisPlus, and Noveon. According to the criteria for approval, these devices may produce a “temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis.