Laser Therapy for Nail Fungus*

Antifungal drugs are often the first choice because they clear the infection more quickly than do topical drugs. Options include terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox). These drugs help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part. Laser /IPL/ LHE are safe and effective for treatment of resistant nails with onychomycosis, nail fungus. The theory is that a precisely directed laser can eliminate the fungus without harming the surrounding nail tissue. Laser will direct infrared light into the upper dermis below the nail bed, to kill bacteria that cause the fungus. The full results of the treatment can generally be seen 2-6 months after the treatment begins due to slow nail growth.

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Pre Treatment:

  • Remove nail polish.
  • Skin should be clean and product free for your treatment.
  • Trim nails and clean with a nail brush.
  • Skin surrounding nails should be shaved if hair growth is prominent.
  • Spray all shoes with anti-fungal spray or disinfectant (Lysol).
  • Continue weekly for at least 4 weeks.
  • Do not apply topical anti-fungal cream or powder 2 days prior to treatment.

During Treatment:

Most laser treatments take between 15-20 minutes. Your treatment time will depend on the size of the area you are having treated. During your treatment you will feel a slight warming on your skin. Let the technician know if you experience any discomfort. The technician will make several passes over the area. Pain tolerance may lower with each pass.

What to expect afterwards following treatment you should avoid sun exposure on the treated areas as much as possible for 48 hours. This is superficial and will heal with no adverse effects. Most patients note a redness that may last 2 hours to 2 days after treatment. The average interval time between treatments is 2-4 weeks. The number of treatments (typically 2-6 sessions) will depend on the severity of the Onychomycosis.


To help prevent reinfection:

  • Apply anti-fungal cream 2 times per day for approximately 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the severity of the infection. Spray entire sole and toes.
  • Apply anti-fungal powder to all shoes at least 1 time per week for at least one month.
  • Wear clean socks and shoes after treatment.
  • Wash sheets, disinfect shower/bath, and vacuum carpets on the day of treatment.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public places (pool, gym, etc.)
  • Keep nails trimmed and cleaned (disinfect instruments after each use). Nail polish may be applied 24 hours after treatment.

Toenails may take 9-12 months and fingernails 6-9 months to grow out. Severely infected nails may take longer.

How soon will you see improvement to my toenails after treatment with a laser? On average, any toe, or finger nail will replace itself every 6 to 9 months through natural growth. Healthy new growth will be visible within the first 3 months as the new nail replaces the old. However, follow up treatment with an anti-fungal cream with L-arginine has shown an increase of up to 100% in the speed of healthy nail replacement. Your podiatrist can make recommendations for a post laser treatment toenail cream.

* The results may vary from person to person. 

DISCLAIMER: As for all images and all kind of laser services, individual outcomes, results and number of treatments recommended may vary based on individual client needs, medical history, and circumstances. COL clinic cannot guarantee exact or permanent results or cures.