The MonaLisa Touch™ (MLT) is a CO2 laser, cleared by the FDA in 2014, with modest data supporting its use as a safe and effective energy-based treatment for GSM (learn more about GSM here), a medical condition associated with menopause. The MLT laser treatment provides fractionated beams of light that penetrate small areas of tissue, triggering a healing response by inducing the body’s own “repair mechanism,” prompting increased levels of collagen, elastin and improved blood vessel supply, and enhanced moisture of the vaginal canal. Each treatment lasts about 5 minutes, and is painless. Patients require no down-time, and most patients experience some relief from the very first treatment. A complete treatment course consists of three treatments, scheduled 6 weeks apart.
MLT therapy is not appropriate for women who have not had a complete physical exam conducted by a women’s health clinician or women who have not been offered or have not had a thorough discussion of available treatments (other than laser.) Additionally, it is not appropriate for women who are hoping for “vaginal rejuvenation” or improvement in vulvo-vaginal appearance, tightening, improved orgasmic function, improved prolapse, or improved bladder control, as the MLT is not indicated nor does it have data to support claims for any of these conditions.
All women with vulvovaginal complaints should have a physical exam, including a vulvovaginal exam and a pelvic exam. There are other conditions and other pathology that can mimic GSM, and a thorough evaluation by a women’s health clinician is important before therapy is offered. In our practice, we commonly show women (using a hand-held mirror), the changes in their vulvovaginal tissue and document their vaginal pH as a way to help them understand their symptoms.
In July, the FDA issued a warning letter to consumers, providers and manufacturers about the use of fractional CO2 lasers for “vaginal rejuvenation” and cosmetic vaginal procedures.
The letter noted that the FDA has not approved these devices for “vaginal rejuvenation” or vaginal cosmetic procedures due to lack of supporting data and cited serious adverse events, including vaginal burns, scarring, pain during sexual intercourse, and recurring/chronic pain.
Unfortunately, the warning is confusing for patients as it’s not clear when laser treatment might be useful and when it might be harmful.
The MonaLisa Touch™ laser is an FDA-cleared, non-hormonal, energy-based therapy, with data from numerous clinical trials supporting safety and efficacy in treating GSM.
“Vaginal rejuvenation” is not a medical term nor does it address a medical condition. It is a marketing term being touted to make women more self-conscious about the appearance of their labia and to promote laser-based procedures to address appearance or other claims, such as improving bladder control, sexual function and laxity – all with no data to support these claims. Vaginal rejuvenation is NOT the same as GSM, which IS a documented medical condition.
No, you do not have to be a member of our concierge medicine or direct primary care practice in order to receive laser therapy treatments. You may be referred to our practice by your primary care physician or OB/GYN, or you may simply schedule a consultation with one of our providers prior to scheduling treatment in our office.
Please call our office (513.760.5511) and request a private consultation with one of our providers, or to discuss pricing and plans.