Onychomycosis (Nail Fungus) – A NEW Ellipse treatment
October 2013 saw the international launch of the new Ellipse Nd:YAG treatment of onychomycosis (nail fungus). The launch took place at EADV 2013 in Istanbul.
Ellipse laser treatment of Onychomycosis offers a quick, painless and effective treatment. Quick: because of a new sub-millisecond pulse, and a high repetition rate, it is possible to treat 10 nails in 10 minutes. Painless: patients were asked to grade the pain on a level from 0-10, and gave an average score of 0.25! This is because of the short pulse used (which seems to confuse the nerves that would send pain messages) and even more because the Ellipse has SoftCool technology that blows a constant stream of cool air over the area being treated. Effective: in the study 79% of patients saw an improvement in their nails, shown as an area of clear nail growth. Because nails (especially toe nails) grow slowly, this is not an overnight effect, but a process which can take a year to fully resolve.
Treatment is available on the Ellipse MultiFlex+, and are simple for both the patient and the operator. The nail must be clear of polish, and cut short. Treatment uses a standard pulse and standard energy and the laser moves across to cover the whole nail including the nail folds, with a 50% overlap. Five passes are made over each complete nail.
A pass-counter ensures that nails can receive the full five passes, even in the busiest clinics.
Onychomycosis is unbelievably common (estimates vary but between 2% and 8% of the world population is affected). It affects mainly adults, and the chances of developing it increase with age (although adults who swim or run are at increased risk, because of infection from puddles in communal showers, or trauma to the toes when running). The chance of an individual developing the condition is 20%. A study – the Achilles project – across Europe and East Asia (China, Taiwan and South Korea) showed that more than 1 person in 4 visiting his family doctor had the condition, and this figure rose to more than 1 in 3 if he was seeing the doctor for anything involving feet.
Onychomycosis can be caused by several different fungi, and the appearance of nails can vary, but typically nails are thick and discoloured (white, black, yellow or green). The nail may be brittle, broken or even totally missing nails; there may be white or yellow patches on the nail-bed, and surrounding skin may be inflamed, painful or scaly.
Various other treatment modalities exist (including various home remedies), but the main options are
- to use a topical anti-fungal nail-paint available from a pharmacist,
- to use a stronger (prescription) anti-fungal paint following a doctor’s visit.
- to use a course of systemic (taken by mouth) anti-fungal drugs.
Both the prescription paints and anti-fungal drugs carry a significant risk of side effects, which can be unpleasant. And they do not always work: the nail-paints have an average success rate of below 30% (as low as 15% on toe nails) while the various studies of oral medication shows success to be from 50-70% at best. A further complication is the long treatment time, typically between 3 to 11 months, and sometimes a variable treatment pattern where the patient takes them for a while, rests and takes them again. This can cause certain patients to forget to comply with the instructions.
By comparison, Ellipse laser treatment is a series of 3 short treatments, with no side effects and no pain, offering a greater success rate than medication without the side effects.
Click on this Link to see our treatment video on YouTube