Innovative Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation
At least 50-60% of post-menopausal women suffer from symptoms of vaginal atrophy. This is the thinning and fragility of the vaginal and vulvar tissue that occurs after menopause. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy, also called genitourinary syndrome of menopause, include dryness, burning, painful sex, and even bladder symptoms such as urgency and leakage. Vaginal atrophy can be a first step in vaginal relaxation, the process that leads to prolapse. Traditional treatments for vaginal atrophy include moisturizers, lubricants, and vaginal estrogens. These traditional treatments can be effective for many women, but for some women they do not alleviate their symptoms, or they have health reasons why they may not want to use traditional treatments, such as a history of hormone related cancers.
Mona Lisa Touch is an innovative laser treatment for vaginal atrophy. The Mona Lisa Touch (MLT) is a fractionated CO2 laser, similar to what Dermatologists have used for many years. The MLT laser causes controlled tissue micro-injury to incite a healing response – “rejuvenation”. On a technical level, there is an increase in collagen and elastin, vasodilation (increased blood flow), and increased cell function. On a symptom level, this means increased lubrication, stretch, and sensation! Studies show that 92-95% of women are satisfied with the results of the procedure.
The Mona Lisa Touch is a simple office-based treatment. The inside of the vagina and outside (vulva) are treated. The procedure takes less than 5 minutes and there is minimal discomfort. The starting series of MLT is 3 sessions, performed 6 weeks apart. After that, it’s just a “boost” once a year. We recommend nothing in the vagina for 2 days before and 7 days after each treatment, but otherwise there are no restrictions and you can immediately resume usual activities afterwards.
Lichen sclerosis is another vulvar skin condition that can affect many post-menopausal women. The Mona Lisa Touch has been shown in research studies to improve symptoms of lichen sclerosis and is an alternative to chronic steroid use for these women.
Currently the Mona Lisa Touch is not covered by insurance, it is an out-of-pocket cost. A recent study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology compared treatments for genitourinary syndrome of menopause, including vaginal estrogens and the MLT laser, and found that the MLT laser was actually the most cost-effective treatment! This is something we have long observed, but it’s great to see it confirmed. The study found that not only did the MLT laser give as good (or better!) results as vaginal estrogen, but long term the MLT was the optimal treatment.
Are you interested in Mona Lisa Touch? We recommend making an appointment with one of our physicians for a consultation and personalized recommendations.