Fungal nail infections are estimated to affect nearly 20% of the population, with the percentage of those infected by fungal nail infections increasing to 75% in people over the age of 60. Typical treatments for fungal infections include topical cream and oral medications, both of which are not ideal for toenail infections. This is why Dr. Jeffrey Kleis, at his private practice in Costa Mesa, California, utilizes lasers for the treatment of toenail fungus.
About Dr. Jeffrey Kleis
Dr. Jeffrey Kleis has trained doctors worldwide on how to use laser technology in podiatry. At medical conferences in both the United States and Canada, Dr. Kleis has spoken about laser treatment of nail fungus. He has over 25 years of experience and has performed laser treatments for toenail fungus on thousands of people.
Dr. Kleis understands the benefits of laser treatment for toenail fungus. His private practice is the only location in California to offer two lasers for fungal nail treatment, ensuring that he provides the most innovative treatment possible.
Dr. Kleis’ involvement in the research and development of laser toenail fungus treatments and his training of other physicians on laser techniques for toenail fungus removal makes him a standout podiatrist for these needs.
What is Toenail Fungus?
A fungal infection of the toenail is a common infection that causes the toenail to become thick, discolored (yellow, brown, white), and more likely to crack and break. Most times, a toenail fungal infection is not painful until it reaches a severe state.
There are many causes of a toenail fungal infection, including different types of fungi (yeasts or molds) that live in the environment. A small crack in the toenail or surrounding skin provides these fungi a way to enter the nail and cause an infection.
People with the following conditions are more likely to contract a fungal nail infection:
- a nail injury or nail surgery
- a weakened immune system
- blood circulation problem
- athlete’s foot
Untreated fungal infections in the nail can lead to secondary bacterial infections and put the affected person at risk of a skin infection of the surrounding skin. (3)
Fungal nail infections make the nail more brittle and prone to fracture, which can leave some jagged ends. In those with diabetes, these jagged toenails may injure the surrounding tissue and increase the risk of a foot ulcer. This could then lead to sepsis or even amputation. (3)
Treating Toenail Fungal Infections
Fungi and microbes thrive in areas such as under the toenail bed because they are deep and protected areas. Unfortunately, these areas are also difficult to treat with topical creams and over-the-counter medicine, which have typically been the standard treatment for fungal nail infections.
Topical creams need to be applied to the site of infection, but since the toenail stands in the way, it is difficult to apply it to the entire infection site.
Another treatment for toenail fungus is antifungal drugs, which must be taken for 12-weeks. However, many people do not take these drugs for the entire duration of the treatment, which results in not enough of the medication reaching the nail plate.
Also, some of the medications can elevate liver enzymes and, as such, are not recommended for anyone with chronic or active liver disease. It also requires frequent blood work to test the levels of the liver enzymes to see if they are reaching levels that are too high.
Additional side effects of antifungal drugs include headache, loss of taste, abdominal discomfort, cardiac toxicity, and induction of a lupus-like syndrome. Also, these drugs may react negatively with other medications, making them a risky treatment for those taking other medications.
In short, the side effects of oral medication to treat toenail fungal infections are significant. Also, most people do not take the medication correctly and for the total amount of time. This means that many people may experience adverse side effects without even receiving the benefit of a treated toenail infection.
This further proves the benefits of laser treatment for toenail fungus because it can easily treat the whole infection site, and only the infection site. There is also less of a need to remember to take medicine every day or apply a cream every few hours.
How Lasers Treat Toenail Fungus
The laser equipment sends low pulses of energy into the toenail tissues. The energy pulses are low waves, which means that they can destroy the DNA of the microorganisms without harming any of the skin or toenails. This treatment quickly neutralizes fungus, yeast, bacteria, and mold.
Once these organisms are neutralized, the body has room to produce healthy toenails. Of course, laser treatment, as with all toenail fungal infection treatment, will not immediately return the toenail to a healthy-looking nail. Instead, it will have removed the fungus which impaired healthy nail growth, and with the weeks following treatment, the nail will begin to grow in healthy and clear-looking.
The Theory Behind Laser Treatments
While the efficacy of these laser treatments has been proven, how exactly they are able to destroy the microorganisms is less known, but there exist two theories.
The first theory is that the fungus absorbs energy in a different way than the surrounding tissue. This means that while the laser energy can result in thermal and mechanical damage to the fungus, the surrounding tissue is left unaffected. This is likely related to the way the fungus conducts heat and its inability to do so as efficiently as our skin can. This then results in heat and mechanical damage to the fungus.
The second theory involves the formation of free radicals from laser energy and the consequent light absorption by one of the fungal pigments called xanthomegnin.
While researchers have proven time and again that laser treatment is effective at treating fungal nail infections, the exact reasoning behind it is still just speculation.
The Benefits of Laser Treatment
One of the main benefits of laser treatment is that the patient does not have to worry about remembering to take any medication or applying cream at specified times. Simply show up for the short appointment, and then you are free to do as you please until the next appointment time.
This gives patients the ability to live their life while not having this nagging feeling to remember their medication. Also, it allows the doctor to ensure that the treatment is correctly done since they administer the treatment. That way, there is no miscommunication between patient and doctor, and the patient can ensure that they are receiving the best treatment.
Laser treatment is also recommended for those who cannot take antifungal medications. This includes those who have liver disease or those who are taking other medicines that should not be taken at the same time as the antifungal medication. Anyone who is concerned about the possible side effects of medication would also benefit from laser treatments.
Why You Should Come See Dr. Kleis
The two lasers used for toenail fungus treatment at Jeffrey Kleis, DPM, Inc include the Cutera GenesisPlus™ Laser and Lunula Laser™. Dr. Kleis served as a medical consultant for Cutera Lasers and was involved in the FDA approval and clinical testing of the GenesisPlus™.
Both of these lasers are virtually painless, have short treatment times, and allow for an immediate return to work and play.
Dr. Kleis has an exceptional amount of experience, having successfully performed laser treatments on over 20,000 patients. He is an experienced doctor that you can place your trust in.
Not only does he have experience treating patients, but he also teaches other doctors about how to apply these methods. He has seen the success of laser treatments and wants other doctors to be able to offer their patients the same satisfaction.
You can ensure that Dr. Kleis understands how to properly work the lasers because he played a role as a medical consultant on one and helped evaluate the efficacy of the other for FDA approval. He takes a hands-on approach with these devices and is showing the world just how effective they are.
The laser treatment procedure time at Dr. Kleis’ office is around 20-30 minutes, and many patients have a high success rate with just one treatment. However, some severe cases may require additional treatments that are spaced a few weeks or months apart.
If you are interested in laser treatment for toenail fungus, call Dr. Kleis’ office at 714-760-4944 to book an appointment and get your toenails back to their healthy state.