Treatment of mild, moderate, and severe onychomycosis using 870- and 930-nm light exposure

J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2010 May-Jun;100(3):166-77. doi: 10.7547/1000166.


Background: The Noveon is a unique dual-wavelength near-infrared diode laser used to treat onychomycosis. The device operates at physiologic temperatures that are thermally safe for human tissue. It uses only 870- and 930-nm near-infrared light, wavelengths that have unique photolethal effects on fungal pathogens. These wavelengths lack the teratogenic danger presented by ultraviolet light and the photoablation toxic plume associated with pulsed Nd:YAG lasers.

Methods: In this randomized controlled study, treatments followed a predefined protocol and laser parameters and occurred on days 1, 14, 42, and 120. Toes were cultured and evaluated, and measurements were taken from standardized photographs obtained periodically during the 180 day follow-up period.

Results: We treated mycologically confirmed onychomycosis in 26 eligible toes (ten mild, seven moderate, and nine severe). All of the patients were followed-up for 180 days. An independent expert panel, blinded regarding treatment versus control, found that at 180 days, 85% of the eligible treated toenails were improved by clear nail linear extent (P = .0015); 65% showed at least 3 mm and 26% showed at least 4 mm of clear nail growth. Of the 16 toes with moderate to severe involvement, ten (63%) improved, as shown by clear nail growth of at least 3 mm (P = .0112). Simultaneous negative culture and periodic acid-Schiff was noted in 30% at 180 days.

Conclusions: These results indicate a role for this laser in the treatment of onychomycosis, regardless of degree of severity. Ease of delivery and the lack of a need to monitor blood chemistry are attractive attributes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foot Dermatoses / diagnosis
  • Foot Dermatoses / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Onychomycosis / diagnosis
  • Onychomycosis / radiotherapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult