A review of lasers and light for the treatment of onychomycosis

Authors

  • Arisa E. Ortiz MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. UC San Diego, San Diego, California
    • Correspondence to: Arisa Ortiz, MD, Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 50 Staniford St., St. 250, Boston, MA 02114.

      E-mail: arisaortiz@gmail.com

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  • Mathew M. Avram MD, JD,

    1. Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Molly A. Wanner MD

    1. Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported.
  • Dr. Ortiz, Dr. Avram, and Dr. Wanner participated in the drafting of the manuscript and critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content. There were no funding sources for this article. Dr. Ortiz has received equipment to conduct a study from CoolTouch. Drs. Avram and Wanner have no relevant financial interests to report. This article has not been presented at any meetings or published in the past.

Abstract

Background and Objective

Onychomycosis is a common fungal infection that affects many individuals. Systemic therapies are effective, but are limited by their side effects and potential for hepatotoxicity. Topical therapies have less serious side effects, yet provide only limited efficacy due to their inability to penetrate the nail plate. These limitations have led to the investigation of laser and light-based modalities as alternative treatment options for onychomycosis. This article will provide an overview and critical assessment of the field of laser and other energy-based treatments for onychomycosis.

Study Design/Materials and Methods

A literature search was conducted on laser and light-based treatments for onychomycosis.

Results

Early data are promising, however, many of these studies are small or poorly designed.

Conclusion

Further evaluation and larger studies are needed to determine the optimal light source, pulse duration, and treatment schedule for long-term success. Lasers Surg. Med. 46:117–124, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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