Nail Laser Treatment FAQ

The Embarrassing Truth

Dr. Blackmer is podiatrist who specializes in the treatment of onychomycosis (toenail fungus). We do not use the same laser that other non-medical spas use for the treatment of hair removal and toenail fungus. Therefore, if you are looking for a specialist with a high probability of success and meticulous follow-up, Blackmer Foot & Ankle should be your choice. This is an infection and should be evaluated and treated by a physician.

Approximately 20 million Americans and 50% of the population over the age 40 suffer from onychomycosis, or toenail fungus. It won’t clear up on its own, and almost always spreads to other toenails when remaining untreated.

Despite how common it is, most report that the fungus affects the way they view themselves and the way others view them. It can be very uncomfortable to reveal infected toenails, even in the privacy of your own bedroom. There’s also the concern of spreading the fungus to others through places like shared bathrooms, hotels and locker rooms.

It is very important to be evaluated by Blackmer Foot & Ankle to insure that the problem you have is a fungus infection rather than a symptom from other medical conditions. If your toenail problem is determined to be fungal, there is a high probability that you also have a chronic athlete's foot (chronic hyperkeratotic tinea pedis) that is quite often by the same fungal organism and does not respond to over-the-counter treatment. Without also treating the skin correctly, toenail fungus will often return.

Since 1986, Dr. David Blackmer, a foot & ankle surgeon and podiatric physician, has treated thousands of toenails either medically, surgically or with the PinPointe FootLaser treatment plan.

Clear Nail Laser is located within Dr. Blackmer's Meridian, Idaho office directly across Eagle road from St. Luke's Medical Center - Meridian and is the first practice in the State of Idaho specializing in the laser treatment of fungus toenails.

What is the PinPointe FootLaser & how does it work?

The PinPointe Laser operates in a very tight spectrum of near infra-red light. The laser light passes through the toenail without causing damage to the nail or the surrounding skin. The beam created by this specially designed medical device vaporizes the embedded pathogens in your nail plate and nail bed, leaving normal healthy tissue undamaged, while killing the organisms that cause toenail fungus. It is important to treat all toenails whether obviously infected or not.

Am I seen by a Doctor?

All patients are seen by Dr. David A. Blackmer, D.P.M., who will review your complaint, medical history, perform a lower extremity physical exam and discuss whether you qualify as a candidate for this treatment.

How effective is the treatment?

According to clinical studies performed in Sacramento, California the laser is 88% effective. Our personal experience is beyond 90%. Most patients experience a significant improvement and our experience is that only a single treatment is required. Yet we follow-up with patients at 5, 10 and 15 months performing maintenance laser treatment if needed as part of your original fee. We are very concerned about the success of the treatment and the happiness of our patients!

Does the laser treatment take long?

Depending upon the number of toenails infected and their severity, the treatment takes between 45-90 minutes.

Does the laser treatment hurt?

No anesthetic or injections are ever used. Because the laser does not damage the nail or surrounding skin, most people feel nothing. Some people may feel a warming sensation and very few feel a pinprick a few times throughout the treatment.

How safe is this treatment?

No adverse reactions, injuries, disabilities or side effects have been reported in clinical studies with this laser treatment. In contrast, topical treatments are minimally effective. The long term oral medications available today can cause side effects to the liver, kidney and eyes.

Will I be able to walk after treatment?

Yes, you will be able to resume all your normal activities immediately after the treatment is done. Even go for a run if you like.

How quickly is improvement noticed?

At the time of the procedure, the toenail will not become instantly clear, it takes time to grow out. New healthy nail will be seen emerging from the cuticle area as your nails grow naturally. Depending upon which toenail, your age, circulation and overall health, a toenail replaces itself every 6-12 months. Within the first 5 months healthy new growth will be visible. Most toenails grow at a rate of 1-3 mm per month.

Will the fungus come back?

In a high percentage of cases, the fungus is eradicated following one treatment. We will recommend care techniques to reduce recurrence of the infection. If you have a history or are diagnosed by Dr. Blackmer with a chronic form of athlete’s foot, this will also need to be addressed since toenail fungus and Athlete’s Foot are commonly caused by the same pathogens. Also, there is a chance of reinfection because the fungus is present everywhere in the environment. Just like you practice good oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you will need to practice good foot hygiene to keep your toenails healthy.

Is the procedure covered by insurance?

The laser procedure is considered aesthetic and therefore not covered by health insurance. However, your initial office visit to diagnose the infection and provide treatment options is usually covered by most health insurance plans. For the procedure itself, a wide variety of payment options are available (cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, office arranged payment plan and 0% Care Credit financing). Patients can also use their Health Savings Accounts.

What does the treatment include and cost?

At our clinic you will be seen initially for an evaluation & management visit to determine if your symptoms are truly the cause of a fungal infection. Your initial office visit and laser procedure are billed separately. The office visit claim can be sent to your health insurance for coverage; but not the laser procedure.

The laser procedure fee is billed as a global fee covering photographs, the initial debridement of toenails, laser treatment and follow-up visits/maintenance laser treatment at 5, 10 and 15 months. The fee varies depending upon the number of toenails infected, their thickness and the severity of the infection. The laser treatment fee range is between $750 and $1200; with most ranging between $850 to $950. Again, the PinPointe FootLaser procedure is not covered by health insurance. You insurance will not be billed. Billing patients as a global fee rather than divided between the four visits results in better patient compliance and results.

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