Do you suffer from fungal nail infections? Not only are they unsightly; they can also cause discomfort and pain.
Our Hemel clinic is offering Noveon®, a state of the art laser technology backed by research.
How does it work?
Fungus, bacteria and yeast are prime causes of fungal nail. Yeasts and moulds combine with dampness to cause toenail fungus. Wearing tight-fitting shoes or not letting feet dry out gives toenail fungus a place to grow. Other risk factors include diabetes, a compromised immune system, or an abnormal PH skin level. The likelihood of toenail fungus increases with age, which leads to reduced blood circulation and more risk of exposure.
Noveon®is the safest and most effective treatment option available. The laser is able to kill the fungus using certain light wavelengths that are known to disrupt the metabolism of fungal cells. Once their metabolism has been altered, the fungal cells die. Meanwhile, healthy skin and tissue cells are left unharmed.
The laser works by targeting the infected nail or nails with two unique wavelengths of laser light. Whereas other laser treatments for fungal nails do so at high temperatures (which often cause pain or discomfort during treatment), Noveon® treats at lower temperature levels.
Noveon® treatment also reduces fumes (plumes) which can affect both patient and user. Laser plume may contain carcinogens, irritants and fine dusts. Plumes may also contain viruses and cancer cells, blood fragments, and bacteria spores. They also contain carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and various toxic gases. Plumes may contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, and benzene.
What can I expect with this treatment?
A session involves having the affected toe or toes being hooked up to the Noveon® laser machine (see figure 1). A typical treatment consists of three/four 16-minute treatments, in all around 120 days.
But first there will be an initial consultation 10-14 days before starting your first treatment. This will involve:
· Signing a consent form and receiving information on the treatment
· Q & As
· Assessment to determine the number of treatments required, which depends on the severity of infection and number of toes infected
· Photographs of nails before and after treatment
· Agree post-laser care programme
Is it painful?
There is no pain associated with the procedure, largely due to the lower heat Noveon® generates. There is no need to feel anxious – you are in good trained hands at Betafeet Podiatry!
What does it cost?
Betafeet Podiatry currently charges £600 for the whole cycle of treatment.
What is the success rate?
Based on research, around 95 percent.
Rwanda is a small ambitious country known as the land of 1000 hills with a population around 12 million and a rapidly growing economy. It has rolling hills for as far as you can see, a rain forest, gorillas and volcanoes, making for quite the site to any visitor. However, it is also known for the 1994 genocide in which over 1 million people were killed in 100 days across the country.
This tragic event has led to some very big health issues, which the country still faces, but thanks to a range of donor funding and strong political leadership, the country is on its way to quickly becoming a middle-income country.
As countries shift from low incomes to middle income economies, health issues become complex, where the country can face a mix of communicable disease (ie. malaria, HIV, TB) and the introduction of non-communicable disease (ie. diabetes, high BP, cholesterol) with changes in lifestyles.
Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with podiatry?
Well, as clinicians we play a role in the overall wellbeing of every patient that walks through our door for treatment and we become advocates for a number public health issues. While our specialist area is focused on the foot and ankle, an understanding of the bodily systems is imperative for understanding the impacts on the lower limb. This allows us to transition from clinical practice to other work streams such as health policy, public health programmes, service management and research.
As a podiatrist with a public health background, the increase of diabetes and chronic conditions in developing nations has become of personal interest. In many of these countries, diabetes is poorly understood and without proper prevention and care, can lead to a large economic burdens on the healthcare system. In 2012, the UK alone spent a whopping £639 million on foot ulcers and £662 on lower limb amputations, so the prevention and monitoring of these conditions is of paramount importance in the developing world.
The quality of life for individuals with diabetes is also drastically affected if not controlled, impacting mobility, footwear and overall lifestyle. Additionally, chronic ulceration and limb amputation, creates an increases risk (approximately 80%) of mortality within the first 5 years post amputation.
How did all this lead me to Africa, I hear you say?
In April of 2016, I (sadly) departed from the Betafeet clinic to implement an mhealth project in Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Health. This project, allows patients across the country to speak with a doctor and receive a prescription via SMS through their mobile phone, reducing the travel time, wait time and expense of receiving care from one of the local physical hospitals. The system is also working on monitoring both communicable and non-communicable disease using artificial intelligence, engaging patients to take ownership of their health.
This could be a major milestone for a country with stretched resources. To put things into perspective, over 80% of the population lives in remote areas of the country and works in the ‘in-formal’ sector as subsistence farmers with an average income of 2-3 dollars per day, which is not very much. To receive care, a patient may travel over an hour to reach their nearest hospital where a doctor is present and then wait anywhere from a few hours to a few days to receive the care they need. However almost 80% of the population already has a mobile phone.
Appropriate access to clinical care is a large part of the prevention and management of many conditions and undertaking this project has been a great experience. As a clinician, I have had the opportunity to utilise my knowledge to develop operational pathways and input into the technology development to shape the way patients receive their care.
It is with
this experience I now look to move on to my next adventure focusing on Aboriginals
and the utilisation of technology in the prevention of major non communicable
disease such as diabetes.
Final comment from Reggie Simpson and Betafeet Podiatry
We wish Andre the very best in his future and thank him for this interesting blog account. We look forward to his next blog focused on his work with the Aboriginal population.