What is fungal nail infection?
Otherwise known as onychomycosis, fungal nail infection is a condition that can affect one or more toe nails or finger nails, although it is far more commonly found in toe nails.
The infection can cause the nails to become discoloured and thickened, making the nails difficult to cut. They can look unsightly and of course perhaps even make one embarrassed about showing them in public.
A positive nail culture is required either from your GP or we offer this service ‘in house’. Sometimes other nail conditions can mimic onychomycosis hence requiring a positive nail culture prior to treatment.
Not everyone is suitable for nail laser treatment.
Before any treatment is started a medical history will be taken, photographs will be taken of the infected nails for later comparison. The nails will be filed and cleaned prior to laser treatment.
What does the treatment involve?
The treatment involves passing laser light over the infected nail or nails which destroys the infection. The treatment is quick and safe with no side effects on the surrounding healthy tissue. No anaesthesia is required as it is completely painless and you can return to your normal daily routine immediately after treatment.
Frequency of treatment
The treatment includes 4 visits at weekly intervals in order to make sure that the fungal nail infection is clear. We undertake lunula laser treatments once a week for four consecutive weeks. You will be followed up four weeks later for a laser boost and check of the nail/s.
We recommend that you wash all socks and hosiery on a very hot wash – 60 degrees centigrade in order to kill all fungal spores that could cause reinfection. Your shoes may also be harbouring fungal spores and you may want to use a Sterishoe ultraviolet shoe sanitizer.
As part of our ongoing aftercare, your nails will be re examined after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months and progress will be monitored through photographic comparison.
When will I see results?
Toe nails grow at a rate of about 1mm per month so it will be between 3 to 6 months before you see any improvement. Complete regrowth of a new healthy nail will normally be anything from 12 to 18 months. The older one is the longer this can take, sometimes up to 2 to 3 years. Finger nails grow at a faster rate so improvement should be noticeable more quickly.
Who is prone to catching Onychomycosis?
Infection is unusual in children but as one gets older the chance of catching a fungal nail infection increases.
The statistics are:
Between 40 to 60 years old 15% of the population will acquire it.
Between 60 to 70 years old over 30%.
Over 70 years old there is about 50% infection rate.
Also people with low immunity, diabetes and HIV are more at risk of catching onychomycosis.
Is this treatment covered by Insurance?
Many Insurance companies consider this a cosmetic or aesthetic procedure and so most of them will not cover the treatment cost.
However, companies such as SimplyHealth will reimburse according to your level of cover.