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The MonaLisa Touch® is a fractional CO2 or carbon dioxide laser treatment manufactured by the Italian company DEKA (and distributed by Cynosure) which is marketed to treat vaginal atrophy (volume loss or tissue degeneration) in pre- and post- menopausal women.
MonaLisa Touch uses a fractional CO2 or carbon dioxide laser that is delivered via a probe which is inserted into the vaginal canal.
It comes with a wide range of different probes for treating the inside of the vagina and for treating the external, vulvar side. These include a probe that emits the laser energy in a 360° fashion, there is a graduated scale, together with a vulvar ring, which allows complete control and uniform treatment of the tissues, and three single-angle probes are available for treating vaginal atrophy, urinary stress incontinence and vulvar treatments. This means that the practitioner has lots of options for precise treatment applications.
The treatment is based on the SmartXide2 CO2 laser system from DEKA (which was introduced in Europe in 2008) with their HiScanV2LR scanning system which they claim guarantees optimal reliability and performance due to their exclusive CO2 laser which has PSD® (Pulse Shape Design) technology, a special pulse designed for this treatment application.
At the start of the treatment the practitioner will usually insert a swab into the vagina which is used to dry out the inside of the vaginal canal as much as possible before the laser is inserted. This may feel a little uncomfortable. The probe for the laser can then be inserted and treatment commences. Treatment time is short, taking only 5 to 10 minutes to deliver the required laser energy.
The MonaLisa Touch CO2 laser delivers energy into the vaginal tissue and creates tiny, white, ablated dots of damaged tissue within the vaginal canal. As with other fractional laser techniques used in aesthetics, the principle is that this stimulates the healing response in the non-ablated (non-damaged) tissue surrounding each micro-dot, and thus new collagen formation results and the thickness of the vaginal lining is improved.
Developed for facial aesthetic applications, the HiScanV2LR scanning system is used to make sure that the correct and precise delivery of the ablated micro-spots occurs – this can be done in single dots, lines or square formation with spacing from 0 to 2000μm depending on the vaginal concern and the severity of any laxity or atrophy in the tissue.
European CE Mark approved.
FDA approved in the USA since September 2014 for treating vaginal dryness caused by vaginal atrophy.
Trained medical professionals only, with gynaecological knowledge and experience.
MonaLisa Touch is used for vaginal tightening to relieve stress urinary incontinence, to treat vaginal atrophy and volume loss caused by hormonal changes associated with menopause, pregnancy, breast cancer and other causes of oestrogen loss. The aim of treating the degeneration of the vaginal tissue is to increase vaginal lubrication and to improve sexual function, sexual satisfaction and other practical concerns such as continence. It is also used to reduce itching, irritation and pain in the region, particularly in relation to sexual intercourse.
A reduction in vaginal dryness, painful sex and improvement of urinary problems are reported by most women around one month after the first treatment with results improving over subsequent months and after additional treatment sessions, which are spaced to allow for tissue regeneration cycles in between. You will be advised to return for an annual top-up treatment session to maintain the tightening and control.
The MonaLisa Touch treatment is considered to be minimally invasive with low downtime. Treatment is described as not requiring any anaesthesia and with a sensation of vibrations and slight warmth. Most women report redness and swelling and some minor discomfort post treatment which is temporary and usually disappears after a few days.
You can return to your normal activities almost immediately – within a couple of days. You will be advised to avoid taking hot baths, having penetrative sexual intercourse or inserting tampons for approximately 2 to 3 days. You may also be advised to avoid strenuous exercise, lifting heavy weights for a week.
Although rare, there is a potential risk from the use of fractional carbon dioxide lasers of burns or necrosis (tissue death) if an area is over treated with the energy by mistake.
As long as you are generally healthy and don’t have any skin diseases or infections in the area treated, there are few medical reasons why you should not undergo this treatment.
It is advised not to have the procedure done whilst you have having your monthly period (menstruation) as the increase in blood in the area can impede the targeting and penetration of the laser into the tissue within the vaginal canal, making treatment less effective.
If you are concerned that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) then this should be checked, diagnosed and treated, if required, before having a MonaLisa Touch treatment.
You may well be asked to provide results from a PAP smear test that you have had within the last 12 months, or have a smear test before treatment, if it has been several years since you were last tested. The results of this will be used to evaluate suitability for treatment in case of any abnormal results.
Pregnant women are advised to wait to until after the birth of their child before having treatment. MonaLisa Touch can be used approximately 3 months after childbirth, whilst breastfeeding, even if you want to have more children.
A course of 1 to 4 (average 3) treatment sessions is usually recommended for MonaLisa Touch, spaced anywhere between two and four months apart, depending on the severity and type of symptoms being targeted.
Most women will notice an improvement around 30 days after the first treatment session. You will be advised to have a top-up or ‘booster’ treatment approximately one year after your initial treatment to maintain your results.
The cost of MonaLisa Touch treatment depends on the practitioner treating and the number of treatment sessions required and can range from approximately £650 to £1,200 per treatment session, with a course of 3 treatments from £1,500 to £3,000.
A variety of published papers are now available which evaluate the use of the MonaLisa Touch.
Dr. S Salvatore et al published a paper in April 2015* which looked to investigate the effects of its use on sexual function and overall satisfaction with their sexual life in postmenopausal women with vaginal atrophy. The prospective study looked at 77 patients and concluded that the MonaLisa Touch treatment was associated with a significant improvement in sexual function and sex life satisfaction in the targeted group.
* Climacteric. 2015 Apr;18(2):219-25.
Sexual function after fractional microablative CO₂ laser in women with vulvovaginal atrophy.
Salvatore S, Nappi RE, Parma M, Chionna R, Lagona F, Zerbinati N, Ferrero S, Origoni M, Candiani M, Leone Roberti Maggiore U.