What Are Podiatry Lasers?

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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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Podiatry lasers are specially designed carbon dioxide (CO2) or neodymium and yttrium aluminum garnet (NdYAG) lasers that podiatrists use for treating infections or removing warts. Lasers effectively annihilate microbes without damaging surface tissues. Performed by qualified physicians, podiatry laser treatments produce desired results without bleeding, scarring, or discomfort, allowing patients to resume normal daily activities soon after the procedure.

CO2 podiatry lasers emit infrared light pulses through carbon dioxide gas. The light produced by the laser is typically at the far end of the infrared spectrum, at a wavelength of around 10,600 nanometers (nm). A wand-like instrument remains cool to the touch while emitting light waves that cut or vaporize tissue, depending on whether the physician uses a focused or defocused beam. The thin, focused beam cuts or shaves tissue in a manner that is similar to a conventional scalpel. The heat produced by the wider, unfocused beam readily penetrates soft tissue, instantly vaporizing the fluid in and between the cells, destroying cells and cauterizing blood vessels.

The NdYAG podiatry lasers also emit infrared light beams by using neodymium ions and yttrium aluminum garnet crystals. These lasers operate on variable power settings and wavelengths ranging from 532 nm to 1,064 nm. Physicians may adjust the beam spot, changing the diameter of the emitted beam from 2.5 millimeters to 6.5 millimeters, depending on the size of the treatment site. The technology also allows the podiatrist to adjust the pulse setting from one to five seconds in duration.


Many podiatry clinics use laser technology for the painless treatment of toenail fungus or warts. When treating toenail infections, the podiatrist typically aims the light beam, emitted from the wand at the affected nail. The beam penetrates the nail, killing the fungus on contact without damaging the nail. The process may also include aiming the beam at the skin and tissue surrounding the toenail, ensuring effective treatment and microbe eradication. Patients usually only require one or two treatments before complete fungal elimination.

Often, patients have tried topical remedies for wart removal that include medical treatments, only to have the lesions grow back. Using podiatry lasers for wart removal requires aiming the light beam at the wart. The laser penetrates the tissue and immediately destroys the responsible virus. It also cauterizes capillaries and destroys the blood cells that supply nutrients to the wart. The skin remains intact, without bleeding, during and after the painless process. The ease and comfort of the procedure often enables physicians to effectively treat multiple warts in one appointment.


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