What To Expect

Laser treatment for fungus toenails is not a “one shot deal” and results can vary.  There are things that need to be done before your treatment as well as things that need to be done after your treatment.  The following information will help you understand laser treatment, and hopefully answer your questions.

Before your treatment

  • Your doctor may want to run a KOH or fungal culture to make a definitive diagnosis onychomycosis
  • Not all nail conditions are caused by fungus.  The laser is effective only on fungus nails.
  • Once you have had a fungal infection in your nails, you will always be susceptible to become re-infected.  Prophylactic (preventative) measures must be taken to minimize the risk of re-infection.
  • You will need to remove all nail polish prior to treatment.  If your nails are thickened, they will be ground down prior to the treatment.  This is so the laser can easily penetrate through the nails for maximum efficacy.


  • Laser treatments are not effective for nail conditions caused by psoriasis
  • The light from the laser can cause delayed seizure activity for patients who have seizures

Laser Treatments

  • First treatment  It will take up to 3-4 months to see changes in the new nail growth. Remember, we are not changing the appearance of the existing nail — we are destroying fungus on the nail bed so that new nail growth will be fungus free.
  • Second Treatment to be performed 3 to 4 months after initial treatment.
  • Third Treatment (if needed) to be performed 3 to 4 months after second treatment.  Third treatments are rarely needed.

During Treatment

Some patients experience a warm sensation while the laser is being used. Others have reported more of a burning sensation.  Any pain is minimal and very short in duration.

Immediately After Treatment

  • A warm and “full” sensation of the nails and surrounding skin is normal for the first 24 to 72 hours.
  • Some swelling and redness of the skin adjacent to the nails may occur, but will resolve within 24 to 72 hours.
  • Discoloration or burn marks on the nails may occur but will resolve as the nail grows out.
  • Click here for post-treatment instructions.

Post Treatment Prophylaxis

  • Clarus Antifungal (Nail Care) topical solution to be applied daily following your initial treatment.  Like brushing your teeth prevents cavities, using Clarus Antifungal Solution will help prevent recurrence of fungus.
  • SteriShoe ultraviolet germicide treatment for all shoes to kill fungi present in your shoes – to begin immediately following your first treatment, and used routinely from now on.
  • All socks should be laundered with Clorox bleach or replaced.
  • Flip Flops or sandals should be worn in public pools, gyms, locker rooms, etc to minimize risk of exposure to fungus.
  • Visits to nail salons should be eliminated unless you know they are taking measures to kill fungus on their instruments and in their whirlpools.
  • It is ok to reapply nail polish immediately after your treatment.

  • Call Central Carolina Foot and Ankle Associates at (919) 477-9333 for an appointment or click the link below.

Central Carolina Foot & Ankle Associates

4119 Capitol Street
Durham, NC 27704 
(near Duke Regional Hospital) 

5107 Southpark Drive
Suite 202
Durham, NC 27713 
(close to RTP and Chapel Hill)