Friday, October 12, 2018

What Exactly is a Medical Pedicure?

What's the difference between a regular pedicure and a medical pedicure at New Canaan Podiatry?

When I embarked on opening my own practice, I knew that I wanted to offer medical pedicures to my patients.  This was the result of practicing podiatric medicine over the past 14 years - and realizing that I am treating an increasing number of patients who have warts and fungus on their skin and nails. Most of these patients are woman and most of them get regular pedicures at nail salons.

There is no coincidence that over the past 15-20 years there has been an astronomical increase in nail salons popping up on every street corner.  These places are convenient, not that expensive - and best of all quick!  However, the downside to these salons is that they cannot keep their tools clean and they do spread fungus, the virus that causes warts and bacteria.

So when a patient asks me: "Why would I pay the extra money to go to a Podiatrist's office to have my pedicure?"  I'll give you several reasons why - but the most important reason of all - it's clean!

When I inform patients of this, their immediate response is: "Dr. Tauber, the nail salon I go to is very clean!  They put a liner in the tub and they "sterilize" their equipment".

First of all, never get a pedicure in a tub that has a filter!  Even if they "disinfect" in between clients, if they do not remove the filter and disinfect that - whatever was in the person's bath before you i.e skin cells, blood, bacteria, fungus, viruses - will circulate into your pedicure bath as well.  GROSS! Yes, a  liner in a filter-less tub is great, and the concept of sterilizing their equipment is even better.  However, because my office sterilizes equipment several times a day, I can guarantee that most salons are not following appropriate protocol.  Why do I know that?  Because it takes a lot of time and it is expensive!

Still convinced they are sterilizing their instruments?  Let me take you through the process of sterilization.  In my office, start to finish, the process takes 1 1/2 hours - and that's just for one batch of instruments.   Have you ever seen the autoclave in action at your salon?  If they are actually sterilizing their instruments, it would be running ALL DAY LONG!

First, instruments are soaked and scrubbed in a germicide liquid.  Then they placed into a ultrasonic cleaner to remove any debris that didn't come off in soaking.  The instruments are placed into sterilization pouches, and from there they go into an autoclave.  The autoclave needs to reach a certain temperature to kill all viruses, bacteria and fungus that aren't killed in the first two cleaning processes. The pouch that is used will change colors only if it reaches the temperature set for sterilization.  In other words, I can stop the process after soaking and place the instruments into sterilization bags - but that does not mean that they are sterile.  Check the bag next time you are at a salon.

Instruments soaking
Ultrasonic cleaner
Autoclave has to reach a certain high temperature, and the drying time takes 30 minutes alone!

Pouch changes color with certain temp

Now you know they have been appropriately sterilized

My pedicure chair is pipeless, and filter-less.  It has to be filled from the sink and into a disposable liner that is changed in between clients.  Thus eliminating contamination or cross-contamination in between clients. I'm in the office to address any concerns, such as: excessive callusing that needs to be pared away, wart, ingrown toenail or any other issue that only a Podiatrist should be treating.  A licensed cosmetologist will perform your medical pedicure.  This means that in order to maintain her license with the state of CT she needs to maintain a certain number of educational hours in order to renew her license every two years - and if already have had a bad pedicure and end of with a fungal toenail, she can make your nail look normal!!

Dr. Jennifer Tauber is a Podiatrist at New Canaan Podiatry, LLC.  107 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT.  203-548-7688.

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