What's the best approach for treating fungal toenails? First let's look at the history of how fungus of the toenails has been treated. For many years the only available treatment was topical medication. And while somewhat helpful these medications had to be applied daily for up to a year. With all that effort, only 20% of patients saw clearing of their fungal nails.
In the 1960s and 70s the pharmaceutical industry developed an oral medication. Initially these medications were harmful to the liver. Eventually they developed a medication called oral Lamisil which had fewer side effects. The patient took one pill a day for three months and with that the success rate was about 75%. To be safe patients got their liver enzymes tested after one month.
However, even with testing the liver many patients were still hesitant to take the oral medication. Also, fungus would reoccur in some patients (as with any fungal nail treatment). Something that was non-invasive that had the potential to work better was needed. That's why laser treatment was developed. When we first started using laser in 2012 we found a success rate of 60%-70%.
After we added in topical medication for the skin and nails and put in place a program where patients used a UV light sanitizer in their shoes our success rate went up to 75%. Finally this year we added a one month course of oral medication and grouped our laser treatments closer together. Then our success rate went up to 80%-90%.
If you're looking to get rid of your fungal toenails in time for the 2019 sandal season, now is the best time to start. With treatment your clear nails will still need to grow out which can take nine months or longer.
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for evaluation. You can also request an appointment online. We'll test your nails to make sure you have fungus before we start treatment.
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Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.