The beauty of this procedure is that risks are minimal. Certain conditions such as undiagnosed vaginal bleeding / lesions or prior problematic mesh surgery may be relative contraindications to lasering, but there are no significant risks other than mild vaginal irritation during or within 24 hours post therapy. This irritation is more likely due to vaginal atrophy rather than the laser probe itself.
Virtually no risks with this laser
That is one of the great things about this laser, is that there are virtually no risks when done in appropriate patients. In all the patients I have treated, I have had one who had some discomfort afterwards, and one with mild bloody discharge. Both resolved. This correlates with the studies that have been done as well.
The best part about MonaLisa Touch is there are virtually no risks! The treatment is performed as an in-office treatment with no anesthesia. Mild discomfort, slight redness or swelling or itching can be temporary side effects but should disappear within 1-2 days.
One of the best things about the Mona Lisa Touch laser is that there are very few risks to the treatment. If your doctor screens you properly and makes sure that you are a good candidate there should really be no risk, and the published literature supports this. This is because the laser penetration into the vaginal tissues is very small (basically as deep as the tip of a ball point pen), so it does not reach deeper structures and cause harm.
Mona Lisa Touch is especially helpful for women who are not good candidates for vaginal hormones, either because they have not had a good experience with them, or they have a medical condition that makes them a poor candidate (some breast cancers and other cancers, people with clotting risks). There is no reason that these patients can not use the Mona Lisa Touch.
Occasionally there can be some temporary irritation immediately after the procedure, especially if the introits, or entry, to the vagina is tight, but this should improve over time with repeat treatments.
The MonaLisa is a short 5 minute procedure with minimal discomfort. It is important to ensure there are no vaginal infections or abnormal growth in the vaginal canal/ cervix prior to any treatment. Patients may experience a few days of vaginal spotting and external itching. It is best to use an ice pack intermittently for the first day if there is any discomfort. ThermiVa has no associated pain or need for ansethesia, however it takes 40 minutes. The patients help decide which option they prefer depending on there symptoms and anatomy.
Currently 20,000 women to date have been treated by the Mona Lisa Touch with no reported adverse effects. Though rare, vaginal irritation and spotting are the most common side effects that occurs with the initial treatment, and only last for a few days. This is due to the baseline, atrophic state of the vagina and typically does not occur with each subsequent treatment. A simple history and vaginal exam is performed by your physician to assure you are an appropriate candidate without any contraindications. Warm Regards, Jennifer Murphy, MD
Any risks involved in MonaLisa Touch?
Some women may feel more irritated for a few days after the procedure. There are no long term risks reported. The treatment is FDA approved for the Genital Urinary Symptoms of Menopause. Most women choose this therapy for symptoms of vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse related to dryness. We don't have long term data on the resolution of prolapse or incontinence symptoms yet. We are starting to use this laser for women with lichen sclerosis as well. Early experience is promising for this disorder as well.
Monalisa touch laser treatment helps restore Vaginal health due to new collagen elastine and vasculirisation. It can be used for postmenoposal Vaginal dryness , vaginal rejuvenation, mild form of stress urinary incontinence , vaginal tightening, chronic vaginal itching, painful urination and painfull intercourse. Most of these affects can be even seen after the first treatment and its recommended just 3 treatment and each takes less then 5 minutes.
So far no reported side affects or reaction.
The only thing is like in the other laser treatments in some patients who has history of genital herpes may have flairs after the treatment.
MonaLisa touch is also a breakthrough approach for patients who had breast canser and suffering from vaginally atropy and drynes.
Laser Vaginal Tightening: Any Risks?
FemiLift and MLT laser treatments of the vagina utilize low energy settings that do not cause the typical problems of carbon dioxide lasers used on the face (burns, hyperpigmentation, blisters, etc) since the skin of the vaginal canal lacks melanin. There should be no risk if your surgeon has experience with lasers and with the recommended protocols. There are concerns that these procedures might cause a flareup of herpes if the patient has a history of previous infection and in such case antiviral therapy is recommended prior to the procedure. CO2 lasers, erbium lasers, radiofrequency devices (RF), and traditional scalpels have all been associated with herpes flares in vaginal surgery so this is a real, yet uncommon concern. There are no known long-term consequences of laser vaginal tightening on the vagina and treatment effects are temporary.
With all the current non-surgical options using fractional lasers (MonaLisa Touch, FemiLift, IntimaLase) and those using radio frequency (ThermiVa, Viveve) there are risks but they are all very low. Any laser can cause burns, blisters and laser light can blind if not safely used. The laser temperatures are very high. Radio frequency devices can theoretically cause blisters and burns but none have been seen at the effective temperature ranges used (40-45 degrees celcius). Current generation radio frequency is safer over lasers in general because of the relative lower temperatures used. Since all devices are placed internally inside the vagina (ThermiVa is the only one that can also be used on the outside labia majora for tightening effects and improved tissue tone) there is the potential risk of pain with entry (size dependent) and perforation of bladder or rectum (never seen or reported). One other risk I have seen with radio frequency treatments is getting the vagina too tight or getting the vagina tight and lubricated more than the past and the partners achieving orgasms sooner than expected. Not your typical "procedural complication" but one that does happen as a pleasant surprise.
The lasers are now out on the market and many surgeons have purchased them for gynecologic uses. The radio frequency device (ThermiVa) does not reach the general US and European markets till May. Only ten sites in the US currently have a ThermiVa device for clinical trials.
Hope this helps.
Red Alinsod, MD