Laser procedure that tackles toenail fungus

Originally published in the Chico Enterprise-Record (Chico, CA) January 4 2009

By LAURA URSENY – Business Editor

Patients of three area doctors now have access to Patholase's laser procedure of toenail fungus that causes nails to thicken, yellow and become misshapen.

A local registered nurse has arranged with three area doctors to provide the PinPointe FootLaser procedure to their patients, using the Patholase equipment.

Registered nurse Barbara Hanna of Chico travels to the offices of podiatrists Dennis Trenner in Oroville and Thong Van Truong of Chico, as well as physician Ross Tye of Orland.

Patients seeking procedures contact those doctors, who in turn set up the appointments for Hanna.

As a registered nurse, Hanna is able to operate the Patholase-created laser and provide the procedures under the doctors' authorization.

Also the president and CEO of Home Health Care Management in Chico, Hanna knows only too well about the problems of toenail fungus. Her teenage son suffered from it before she approached Patholase founder John Strisower about his invention.

Strisower and Hanna are part of a business organization, and she has kept track of the company's progress through it.

With help from local scientists and researchers, Strisower came up with the laser procedure. After gaining government approval, the procedure is being offered by several podiatrists in other states.

Patholase retains the ownership of the laser equipment because of its expense, but leases it out to the podiatrists. In Hanna's case, she's holding the lease, and brings the equipment with her to the doctors' office. She'll travel from the Yuba-Marysville area to Shasta County, foothill to foothill to set up doctors and see patients.

Hanna is not stepping away from Home Health Care Management, but decided to look for new revenue streams as cutbacks have grown in the home health-care industry.

Hanna said she was sold on the procedure after her son's experience. While each case varies, it took one procedure to erase her son's fungus, although the nail still has to grow out.

Looking over the patients addressed in 2008, Hanna said 88 percent saw an end to the fungus with only one procedure.

"We've been told that this is the most significant new procedure in podiatry in the last 40 years and I believe it," she said.

In finding the podiatrists, Hanna sent letters to all phone book-listed podiatrists in Butte, Glenn, Tehama and Shasta counties. Those who replied with interest got the opportunity, with Hanna allowing one doctor per region.

Hanna said the virtually painless laser procedure is preferable to the alternative ointment that may take six months. Patients may feel some heat during the procedure, which is relieved by averting the laser.

"My hope is that if I can make it successful, to take the model across the U.S. and into rural areas," said Hanna, a nurse since 1975.

Hanna is in talks with doctors in Yuba City, Lincoln, Red Bluff, Grass Valley and Redding areas, and podiatrists in Sacramento, San Jose, Salt Lake City and New Jersey are already offering the procedure.

Patholase received national attention last year when it secured $6 million in funding from a Silicon Valley venture capital company.

It changed names from UVaCide to Patholase last year as well.

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