Nail fungus is disfiguring to the toe nail and a tough infection to kill, according to doctors. For many, it is a source of embarrassment.
Cindy Charvat said she wants her feet to look pretty for her son’s wedding in July.
“I want to be able to wear a nice pair of sandals. I don’t want to have to hide my toes all the time,” she told 11 News I-Team reporter Lisa Robinson.
Charvat decided to get laser treatment for her problem. Podiatrist Dr. Kelly Geoghan said the pinpointe laser that she uses seems to work best for ridding the nails of fungus, which lives on the skin. She said through even minimal trauma to the nail bed, enough of an opening is created for the fungus to get under the nail, and once it’s in there, the infection wreaks havoc.
“Because it’s under the toenail, most of the topical medications don’t get under the nail and get rid of the fungus,” Geoghan said.
Charvat said the procedure didn’t hurt at all.
“It heats up and kills the fungus,” Geoghan explained. “The specific temperature of the laser is heating up that specific type of cell.”
The procedure requires three treatments, but the success of the treatment depends on the patient’s compliance, Robinson reported.
“In between visits, they are applying a topical for the nail — something for the skin and that’s prevention on the skin if they have a fungal infection,” Geoghan said.
She said patient Rosa Carbajal is a glowing example of compliance. All 10 of her toes had fungus, and they’re much better now.
“You can see how they looked before and how much better they look now,” Geoghan said, showing photos of before and after to Robinson.
“I can’t wait for polish,” Carbajal said. “I want polish!”
Geoghan said it takes between nine and 14 months for the infected toenails to be completely replaced with healthy growth.
As for Charvat, there’s a lot of new growth, and Geoghan said it looks like she will be able to wear some strappy sandals to her son’s wedding.
“I think she’ll have a lot of improvement by July, even though she didn’t start treatment until October,” the doctor said.
Geoghan said there are no side effects to the laser, except maybe the $1,200 cost, which is not covered by insurance.