What’s that Laser for Anyway?

This week I bought my very own laser.  We’ve actually had it in house for the past 18 months and it’s been working great.  I often get asked if I can use it for other purposes than what it was designed for and this is my reply.  The laser is being used to treat onychomycosis or fungal nails.  This condition has been traditionally very tough to treat successfully.  We have used lots of different creams, powders, solutions, tea tree oil, and other various home remedies to include straight bleach.  The only studies that were ever done showed about an 18% success rate, so we know topical treatment doesn’t work well.  Medication taken by mouth for 3 months has been the alternative but that had risks involved, especially to people with underlying liver conditions.  For many people this was often not an option.   A few years ago we started using laser therapy and we were able to penetrate the nail in ways typical creams were unable to do.  The success rate on the laser is still not completely known and I’m not sure we’ll ever have a set percentage for that due to the complexity of the different infections we see.  Some people have a minor infection in 1 nail and others have all 10 toenails involved and they are very severe.   The last study showed 70% clearing at nine months which doesn’t mean that 70% of people were cured, just that 70% of people were getting better.   So it isn’t perfect but it definitely has a role.  For now it is not acovered benefit so it continues to be a cash pay product.  We were excited to have our own laser so we can now roll out different pricing for the many different scenarios we see.  We were stuck at $950 for everybody and now we can offer a lower price in many of those cases.  So we are excited this week to continue killing fungus.

Dr. Ivey

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