Laser Now Used to Treat Toenail Fungus

Indianapolis – Fungus can make the nails on our toes unsightly. Until now treatment came with risks to the liver and no real cure. Now there is a new option.
It was a salon trip on vacation that led to years of issues for Betsy Jeatran of Indianapolis.
“My girlfriends and I went for pedicure and mine became infected,” said Jeatran.
The infection was so severe that her toenail fell off.
Her podiatrist Ron Banta says salons can be a source for infection.
“You need to make sure that one they are sterilizing their instruments. I don’t really recommend a lot of foot baths because they are difficult to clean. You have patients before that maybe have had fungus so it’s a good place to cross contaminate,” said Banta.
For two years Jeatran tried Lamisil, a prescription medication which carries for some patients the risk of liver damage. It didn’t offer her a cure.
“I think that the issue that we run into is a lot of medications slow the fungus down but it doesn’t really kill the fungus,” Banta said.
The pinpoint footlaser is a new option.
“It’s brand new, it’s FDA approved,” Banta said.
In clinical trials 88 percent of patient grew a normal looking nail after one treatment. It takes 6 to 12 months.
“It is the first treatment where we actually can say we have something. It is definitive,” said Banta. “It literally destroys the nail from the inside out and that is why a lot of the medication really don’t hit it. Topical medications won’t penetrate the plate and that is the benefit of laser. We actually can go through the plate, through the tissues to be able to get to the fungus cells,” he said.
Betsy Jeatran’s procedure cost $975. She says it was “totally painless.”
Forty minutes later, Jeatran is out the door with a spray to decontaminate all her shoes and with the hope she’ll be back in sandals by spring break.
Anne Marie Tiernon/Eyewitness News