MonaLisa Touch for Vaginal Atrophy, Incontinence, Tightening & Lightening
The MonaLisa Touch is a quick, non-hormonal, non-surgical and highly effective CO2 laser for the treatment for vaginal atrophy and urinary incontinence symptoms. In addition, the laser has an immediate tightening and toning affect on the vaginal structure and can be used with a special hand-piece to lighten the external vulva and surrounding skin.
Whilst relatively new, the MonaLisa Touch treatment that has been used in Australia since January 2013, with over 4000 treatments performed here. Originating in Italy, there have now been tens of thousands of procedures performed worldwide with excellent results. This has been reported scientifically through peer-reviewed histological studies and through patient satisfaction and quality of life surveys.
Unlike current treatment options, the MonaLisa Touch uniquely addresses the cause of vaginal atrophy, rather than simply working on the symptoms itself. It counteracts the effects of vaginal atrophy by stimulating collagen formation beneath the vaginal skin, promoting proliferation of the cells and restoring vaginal wall health, strength and blood supply (See Results). This creates long-lasting relief and offers a new and effective (mechanical) treatment for women who were previously unsuitable for existing HRT and drug-therapy treatments.
Whilst all patients with vaginal atrophy symptoms may benefit, patients who are particularly well suited for MonaLisa Touch, include:
- Women with breast cancer or who have had radiotherapy for bowel or uterine/cervical cancer and suffer vaginal atrophy symptoms (Menopause and Cancer)
- Women with vaginal atrophy who haven’t responded to topical HRT
- Women with painful perineal scarring post-nataly
- Women with severe atrophic vaginitis due to breast feeding and/or extended periods on continuous (progesterone only) oral contraceptive pill and not responding to other medical management
- Women with recurrent thrush and not responding to fungal and medical treatments
MonaLisa Touch Laser: Inspired by the Best in Anti-Aging Therapy
The inspiration for one of the most significant advancements in vaginal health has come from dermatological treatments for wrinkle reduction and skin texture improvement. MonaLisa Touch builds upon the CO2 fractional laser system, which has long been used by cosmetic surgeons and considered the gold standard for rejuvenation of delicate facial, eyelid and neck areas. The advanced CO2 technology that allowed treatments to be tailored to each patient’s skin type and body area has now been extended, with special hand-pieces, enabling effective treatment of intra-vaginal and vulva tissue.
A fractional laser works by splitting the laser beam into a series of very tiny beams or dots. The MonaLisa Touch hand piece enables these dots to be aimed directly at the inside wall of the vagina. The laser pulses for less than a tenth of second, during which the intensity of the laser is carefully varied by a computer to match the characteristics of the existing vaginal wall.
MonaLisa Touch adds a new dimension to the treatment of this important health issue for women. It provides the ability to stimulate the natural regeneration of the vaginal tissue and counteract the physical and emotionally draining effects of vaginal atrophy.
How does the MonaLisa Touch affect vaginal tissue?
Within the vagina, the laser dot removes a tiny area of tissue. This creates a pinhole around the diameter of a human hair. As the body repairs itself, it stimulates cells to create new healthy tissue at the site of the dot and the flesh immediately surrounding it. The laser also works to heat the area between dots, stimulating the activity of specialised cells that create elastin and collagen – the building blocks of healthy tissue.
MonaLisa Touch is a quick, non-invasive, non-surgical treatment usually taking no more than 10-15 minutes. It is relatively painless so no anesthetic is required and there are no incisions or stitches. The vagina will be dried and a small probe inserted. Hundreds of tiny pillars of laser energy will be released from the probe into the vaginal wall, at a very low depth and covering approximately 6% of the vaginal tissue. As such, there is no noticeable burning or scarring of tissues and minimal side effects. Patients can return to their normal daily activities immediately following a MonaLisa Touch procedure with the only post-treatment instruction being no sexual or strenuous activity for 5 days.
The following video of the MonaLisa Touch treatment is presented by Dr Stefano Salvatore, Head of Urogynaecology Unit at IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan Italy. Dr Salvatore was instrumental in developing and clinically testing the MonaLisa Touch.
Your First Visit
MonaLisa Touch can be provided by any one of our qualified and trained MonaLisa Touch Physicians [FIND A DOCTOR] with the treatment performed at one of our Academy Laser Clinics locations.
At your initial consultation, you will meet with our Physician to discuss your vulvovaginal symptoms and concerns. The MonaLisa Touch procedure will be further explained to you and you will be provided with an opportunity to ask questions, if any, surrounding the procedure. Our Physician will ask questions and may examine you to ensure that you are suitable for the MonaLisa Touch treatment, with no contraindications. You will be supported by our Physician and Nurses during your procedure to ensure you are comfortable and receive the highest standards of patient care and satisfaction.
Although most patients experience a noticeable improvement in symptoms after just one MonaLisa Touch treatment, a course of 3 treatments, one month apart, is recommended for vaginal atrophy and incontinence symptoms. That is, you will have 3 treatments over the course of 2 months. Some women may require another single treatment 12 months after their third treatment, as maintenance therapy and to extend the benefits of treatment.
Women who wish to have MonaLisa Touch for tightening or mild prolapse may only require 2 treatment sessions. This should be discussed with your physician during your consultation.
What I can expect following treatment?
MonaLisa Touch works by stimulating the body’s regenerative processes to create more hydrated and healthy cells and to improve the vascularity of the vaginal mucosa. This has a direct effect on the integrity and elasticity of the vaginal wall and increases the acidity of the vaginal environment to more normal levels. A woman can essentially have her vagina return to its healthy and functional state similar to her much earlier years. Women have reported:
- much better lubrication;
- improvement in dyspareunia (pain during intercourse);
- decreased burning and itching sensation;
- decreased urinary urgency and incontinence;
- less vaginal infections and smelly discharge;
- improved laxity and tone (tightening); and
- increased sensation and responsiveness in vulvovaginal tissues.
With improvement in symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, intimacy and improved quality of life, patient satisfaction has been described as life changing. Patients regain their femininity, self-confidence and reclaim control of their body.
MonaLisa Touch is a safe procedure with minimal expected side effects. Only a small percentage of patients have reported transitory side effects of slight reddening or light swelling immediately after treatment, which resolves in 1 to 2 days. If you suffer from severe vaginal atrophy, you may experience mild discomfort during the procedure and rarely slight bleeding for up to 24 hours following the procedure. This is because your vaginal tissues are very fragile. Bleeding that settles within 24 hours usually requires no treatment. And most patients report a marked improvement following their first treatment and nil side effects with subsequent treatments.
In patients with low immune defences, an immune response to treatment may occur, resulting in swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin. This will also self-resolve and should not be a cause of concern.
Why I may not be suitable for MonaLisa Touch?
Although MonaLisa Touch is a safe procedure with minimal to no side effects, there are a small group of patients who may have to delay the timing of their treatment or for whom treatment may not be medically suitable, such as:
- Any current vaginitis – that is vaginal infection or inflammation in its acute stage including, chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhoea. Before proceeding with MonaLisa Touch treatment, the active infection needs to be treated.
- Vulvar skin conditions in its active stage – such as psoariasis, seborrheic dermatitis. MonaLisa Touch treatment can proceed once the active condition has been treated.
- Lesions that may be potentially cancerous – such as low-grade changes on your pap smear, suspicious lesions in the vulvovaginal region. MonaLisa Touch treatment can proceed once you have been cleared and/or treated for these conditions.
- Patients with a high degree of pelvic organ prolapse.
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding.
The following groups of patients should discuss their suitability for treatment with our MonaLisa Touch Physician:
- Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy – patients should wait until 6 months after their last therapy prior to having MonaLisa Touch treatment.
- Pelvic Surgery – e.g. for prolapse repair – patients should generally wait until 12 months after their surgery prior to having MonaLisa Touch treatment.
- Patients with a personal history of genital herpes – Our Physician may advise you to start preventative treatment before your procedure and for a few days following, to avoid the laser stimulation triggering an outbreak.
- Discuss any blood-thinning medication you may be taking with our Physician.
- If you are still menstruating, we recommend having treatment 1 week after your last menstrual period.
It is important to understand that not all women are suitable for the MonaLisa Touch. Each patient must have a consultation to determine their suitability prior to undergoing treatment and some pre-treatment health checks are required. Although the MonaLisa Touch can offer similar results to hormone replacement therapy, some patients may still need to seek further treatment, surgery or medication to alleviate their symptoms.
Preparing for MonaLisa Touch treatment
We recommend seeing your General Practitioner prior to your visit with us if you have not had a Pap Smear or “Well Woman’s Check” in the last 2 years. Your General Practitioner can perform an examination, as required, to ensure your vaginal tissues show no signs of conditions that may be a contraindication to treatment. Your Pap Smear can also be performed during this examination if required.
We require each patient to have a normal, up to date Pap Smear (within the last 2 years) prior to treatment.
You do not require a referral for consultation or treatment with one of our MonaLisa Touch Physicians [Find a Doctor].