Nd:YAG laser with temperature control clears onychomycosis

August 1, 2012

A new laser approach is proving highly effective in the treatment of onychomycosis, offering patients a new therapeutic option for this sometimes difficult-to-treat condition, said Jill S. Waibel, M.D., at the 2012 meeting of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.

Key Points

Kissimmee, Fla. - A new laser approach is proving highly effective in the treatment of onychomycosis, offering patients a new therapeutic option for this sometimes difficult-to-treat condition, said Jill S. Waibel, M.D., at the 2012 meeting of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.

The 1,064 nm Nd:YAG laser is effective in the treatment of numerous cosmetic indications, Dr. Waibel says, including laser hair reduction, vascular lesions and scars. Recently, the same laser has been found useful in the treatment of onychomycosis.

Study details

In a recent 21-patient study, Dr. Waibel treated onychomycosis using the ClearSense handpiece, performing a total of four treatments in each patient spaced one week apart. All patients in the study had a positive dermatophytic PAS/culture in the affected nail(s).

Patients were followed up with efficacy of therapy assessed at one, three and six months after the last treatment session. The clinical endpoint of the study was to achieve negative cultures, Dr. Waibel says.

Affected nails were treated at a temperature ranging from 40 degrees to 42 degrees Celsius, with average treatment time lasting approximately 10 minutes. Results of the study showed that the laser therapy could achieve an aesthetic clearing of the nail, as well as negative cultures, in 20 of the 21 patients treated.

"Except for prions, all infectious agents can be killed by heat, and using the therapeutic heat from the Nd:YAG laser is a logical extension of this premise. In our small study, we found that 20 of the 21 patients treated with the laser responded very well to treatment. These results are very promising and open the door to a new treatment approach for onychomycosis," Dr. Waibel says.