Cool Touch Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails
Onychomycosis is a common infection of the nail, and it may affect approximately 6.5% to 8.7% of the North American population. Visual description includes: yellowed, discolored, thickened and flakey nail / nail debris. The fungus causes a breakdown of the keratin within your nail plate. The byproduct is termed subungal debris which harbors both keratin and fungal elements. The same fungus that is responsible for toenail fungus is also responsible for athletes feet aka tinea pedis. An infected nail can act as a breeding ground for recurrent athlete’s feet and mold.
The Family Foot & Leg Center is now proud to present the custom , gentle cool touch laser treatment for your fungal nails in addition to Keryflex total nail resurfacing technology.
Why the cool touch laser treatment vs others? The cool touch uses a 1320 nm beam, a much safer and cooler beam than the 1064 nm of the competition. For additional safety and comfort, a cryogen spray is used when the nail is heated to the optimal treating temperature. A large 10mm beam diameter, controlled depth provides a reproducible safe procedure while treating the offending pathogen. More in the FAQ.
The laser treatment is not new to the medical profession, but the use in treating fungal nails has picked up steam recently as additional research is being done. laser treatments have been used for vein removal, wart distruction, removal of fine lines / wrinkles, hair, acne and tatoo removal. We at the Family Foot and Leg Center (FFLC) have done our research into various laser treatment modalities currently on the market and has found the 1320 nm laser treatment by cool touch to be the most effective and gentle on the nail bed but tough on fungal cells. We also have a 1064 nm laser treatment (similar to the competition) but we reserve such for spider veins and less sensitive areas.
The studies for this cool touch laser treatment has been impressive, please see the data page for the summary of findings and articles.
Below is an Article Written by Dr. Mark Katz
Do you have discolored thick toenails? Do you want to avoid strong medications that can cause liver damage? Are you tired of liquids and creams that are time consuming to apply with poor results?
Finally you can get rid of your discolored, cracked fungal toenails or onychomycosis with the latest laser treatment advances. While laser treatments may seem scary to some, they are used daily for cosmetic procedures using safe laser energy.
While there are several laser treatment technologies available, Dr. Marc Katz, a Tampa podiatrist, has done his homework. Before jumping into various technologies, he wanted to research each treatment and find the best, most effective solution for his patients, not the most popular and best marketed treatment.
He said no to the Pinpointe laser treatment immediately for several reasons. The Pinpointe is essentially a laser treatment designed for dental procedures with modifications to capture a new market, toenails. So the design and treatment is less than optimal. The Pinpointe has a small spot size that can produce a problem known as stacking. Stacking comes from overlapping of the laser treatment beam in the same area possibly leading to burns and damage. Small spot size can also lead to missed areas of treatment. Dr. Katz also did not like the fact that the laser treatment treatment is performed with no control of the beam distance or desired temperature for fungal death and this leads to inconsistent treatments with poorly controlled outcomes. Additionally, the beam was not accompanied by cooling to avoid surrounding tissue damage. The current single treatment with Pinpointe has also become controversial. There is increasing evidence that to be effective, two or even three treatments are necessary and best for the patient. The single treatment protocol resulted from the fact that the doctor was charged each time the laser treatment was turned on, hardly in the best interest of the patient.
Initially, a comparison was made between the Noveon and Pinpointe laser treatments. With more research,different promising options became clear that combined superior treatment and safety features. While the Noveon was promising, it failed its initial FDA approval for onychomycosis and ran into financial problems. Additionally, some of the lower wavelengths had questionable results and the safety features with the Noveon added additional costs to the procedure. As of this writing, the Noveon is not available but may be in the future. It should also be noted that the laser treatment also was initially developed for dental procedures. All of the laser treatments mentioned here have been FDA cleared for podiatry, dermatology and general surgery use. So they are appropriate for toenail treatments if proven worthy by your doctor.
As research proceeded, Dr. Katz liked the Cooltouch CT3 Plus Zoom laser treatment, one of the most proven laser treatments on the market today with a track record. The Cooltouch allows for various types of skin treatments for many issues. Dr. Katz points out that toenails are simply modified skin, so the Cooltouch laser treatment makes sense. He also liked the higher wavelength of the beam and feels that the hard thick nail can be more safely penetrated and treated with this different wavelength. In addition there are added features that improve the appearance of the nail by resurfacing, similar to skin resurfacing and rejuvenation. This is only a Cooltouch feature.
The CoolTouch CT3Plus CoolBreeze produces 1320nm laser treatment energy that is specifically absorbed by water and water associated with collagen in the tissues of the nail matrix. The laser treatment is so sophisticated that it can detect and reach the proper target temperature set by the doctor leading to death of the fungus. The treatment then stops immediately and then the nail is cooled with a spray. This allows for fungal death without damaging the skin or the nail growth plate. Cooltouch’s impeccable safety emanates from its incorporating pulsed cooling and real-time temperature feedback into its treatments. In addition, the CoolBreeze Handpiece features an adjustable spot size from 3 mm to 10 mm allowing for adjustments based on nail size for most effectiveness. Other laser treatments currently being used do not incorporate these advanced features for patients leading to less desirable outcomes and minimal safety features. The Cooltouch laser treatment can be completely controlled. The treatment temperature to kill the fungus can occur automatically while incorporating safety. Each patient can receive a customized treatment leading to the best possible outcome. This is truly unique.
There are different growth phases of the nail and fungus and the best results occur when the patient receives at least 2 treatments. The cost of 2 treatments with the Cooltouch is usually the same or less compared to only one treatment with the Pinpointe laser treatment. This certainly benefits the patient.
Dr. Katz feels that the laser treatment is superior to all other remedies for fungal toenails. However, patients need to follow a comprehensive maintenance regimen to prevent recurrence of the toenail infection.
Excerpt from paper submitted to the FDA
In this paper, we present preliminary results using the CoolTouch 1320 nm mid-infrared CoolBreeze laser treatment on patients to treat toenails that have demonstrated dermatophyte infections resulting in onychomycosis. Fungal infection was determined by the investigator pre-treatment. Toes were treated a minimum of two times at separate sessions. There were 38 patients with a total of 54 toes treated. All subjects tolerated the treatments without anesthesia with one subject reporting an adverse event complaining of a localized, sharp pain like sensation that resolved within two months. Forty-three out of 54 (79.6%) toes treated showed a measurable increase in clear nail area. Improvement in the areas of clear nail growth was measured from 30 to 180 days post the final treatment.
Please note the investigator above did not use the Keryflex resurfacing technology (www.keryflex.com) after the laser treatment treatment. Here at the Gentle Nail laser treatment Center, we apply these two state of the art treatment modalities to increase the healing effects. In fact, the application of Keryflex alone has been shown to significantly improve the discoloration of nails caused by fungus.