Evaluation of Nd:YAG laser device efficacy on onychomycosis: a case series of 30 patients
Until recently, pharmacologic molecules have been the only available treatments for onychomycosis. Laser treatments were introduced for recurrent or resistant cases or in patients in whom oral treatments are contra‐indicated. Some devices were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Neodymium yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) is used for onychomycosis as a short‐pulse or a long‐pulse system. We aim to evaluate the efficacy of the short‐pulse Nd:YAG in treating onychomycosis, its side effects, cure rates, and 12‐month recurrence rates. Efficacy was evaluated based on a subjective measure of patient satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10, and an objective measure based on the results of the mycologic cultures. Medical records of 30 patients were reviewed. Ages ranged from 22 to 85, with a mean of 44. Mycologic cure at 12 months was not achieved in 5 patients (16.67%) who had received laser treatment. None of these patients showed any signs of clinical improvement. Twenty patients (66.67%) were completely cured at 12 months, with corroborating negative mycologic cultures. The remaining five patients (16.67%) had discordance between their clinical cure status and their mycologic cultures. Side effects were reported by 7 patients out of 30 (33%): pain within 48 hours of the treatment session, burning sensation in the treated nail bed area. Our primary end point of negative mycologic cultures at 12 months was seen in 24 out of 30 (80%) of our patients. Similar culture cure rates have not been reported before, not even with systemic treatments with oral antifungals. However, few limitations should warrant us (False‐negative results in fungal cultures; time limitation; sample size…). Still, we propose that this alternative should be offered for patients in whom antifungals are contraindicated or for patients previously treated, but not cured by oral antifungals, and in elderly and polymedicated patients.
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