A Clinical Review of Laser and Light Therapy for Nail Psoriasis and Onychomycosis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

There are considerable emerging data in the use of lasers and lights to treat onychomycosis and psoriasis of the nail subunit.

OBJECTIVE

We aimed to review all of the medical literature on laser therapy of nail psoriasis and onychomycosis published since 1992.

METHODS AND MATERIALS

We performed a PubMed literature search using the search terms “nail,” “laser therapy,” “laser surgery,” “light,” with search terms “psoriasis” and “onychomycosis.” In addition, we performed extensive MeSH and bibliographic searches as delineated in the manuscript. Because of the poor quality of evidence, we were not able to complete a quantitative review and thus present our findings qualitatively.

RESULTS

Although the trials are small, PDL (595 nm) and IPL with a 550-nm filter demonstrate compelling data in treating nail psoriasis. Laser studies of onychomycosis fall short on many levels. Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers with very short pulse durations and fractionated CO2 demonstrate the most promise for the treatment of onychomycosis.

CONCLUSION

The data for treating nail psoriasis and onychomycosis with laser and light therapy are rapidly emerging. With increased subject data, improved study methodology, and more precise output parameters, lasers may become an important modality in the treatment of nail psoriasis and onychomycosis.

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