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Woman loses her toenails after fish pedicure - CNN

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Remove jewelry before treatment. Arrive 25 minutes prior to your service to register, change and relax in the sauna or tranquility room. Silence all electronic devices before entering the spa. This phenomenon, known to doctors as onychomadesis, usually results in the nail falling off long after an initial event such as an injury arrests nail growth.

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In her report, Lipner describes this as a "relatively common physical examination finding" that has been linked to infections, medications, autoimmune and heritable conditions. Lipner said the patient had no other medical history that she could link to her abnormal toenails.

Although there's no definitive test for fish-nibble-induced toenail loss, "I think we're fairly sure that it was the fish pedicure," she said. Tosti, a former president of the European Nail Society, said the woman's problem could be caused by something much more mundane: overlapping toes in a certain type of shoe.

Toenails usually grow at about 1 millimeter per month, Lipner said, so a nail can take up to a year to fully grow back. Lipner is unaware of any other such cases linked to fish spas, whose popularity seem to have drawn from unfounded claims about their health benefits, according to her report. However, the use of "doctor fish," as they are also known, goes further back in other countries, such as Turkey. Another species of fish, which "grows teeth and can draw blood," is sometimes mistaken for Garra rufa and used in fish pedicures, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Lipner was not able to identify the fish species involved in this case. While Lipner believes that the woman's problems stemmed from the physical impact of the fish biting at the nail, she noted that there have been past reports of infections associated with fish pedicures, too. Diagnosis: Unusual. Experts say they're unsure how infections might be spread through fish pedicures. It could be due to lingering microbes from whomever's feet were there last, versus the fish itself.

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Health experts have raised concerns that, in fish spas, the fish are recycled from person to person, and the tubs may not be properly cleaned between uses. In the UK, "the salons themselves were really popular here; they sprung up very rapidly," said Amanda Walsh, a senior scientist with the Emerging Infections and Zoonoses team of Public Health England. In work done previously with the UK's Health Protection Agency, she helped produce the agency's guidance on fish spas.

Their recommendations dealt with hygiene and infection control, "as would be required for other types of beauty salons. Woman's selfies capture moving lump on face: a parasite.