Er:YAG Laser Technology (Fotona) is a revolutionary, photothermal, non-surgical option for treating mild and moderate stress-incontinence as well as mixed urinary incontinence.
Over ¼ of all women in active age suffer from some form of incontinence, especially those who have had vaginal births. Contrary to the belief that incontinence occurs in older women as a result of age-restricted muscular tone of the pelvic floor, a huge part (up to 50%) of young ladies silently accept this condition as a consequence of childbirth. Stretching and loss of elasticity in combination with damage to the connective tissue of the pelvic floor are the causes of various degrees of incontinence.
Types of incontinence in women:
Stress-incontinence is a urine leakage caused by coughing, sneezing, or physical effort.
In detrusor instability or overactive bladder, women have uncontrollable urge to urinate. It appears as a result of damage to the muscle fibers or nerves innervating the detrusor muscle. This muscle is responsible for the micturition or evacuation of urine from the bladder.
Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of the above 2 types. There are other types of incontinence, but they are not treated with laser technology.
Types of urinary incontinence treatments:
- Conservative treatment of urinary incontinence (UI) – includes Kegel exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles or electromagnetic stimulation of these muscles.
- Surgical treatment includes two types of interventions – a standard vaginal plastic surgery to lift the urethra and the so called sling surgery (placing special tape or mesh). They are in turn divided into 2 types: TOT (trans-obturator) and TVT (trans-vaginal bands). Studies have shown that the latter are more effective.
- Er:YAG laser treatment – a vaginal treatment where the device emits a microsecond long laser pulse and creates a controlled rise in temperature in the connective tissue of the vagina. The increased temperature shrinks the collagen and the mucosa which firms the vagina, strengthening and providing better support for the bladder.
Advantages of Er:YAG Laser Treatment (Fotona) for Stress-Incontinence and Mixed Incontinence:
- One procedure lasts 20-30 minutes (three procedures, one every month are performed).
- Outpatient procedure – does not require hospitalization and general anesthesia.
- Painless procedure – Local anesthesia around the vagina and lower third of the urethra is used.
- Immediate return to daily activities (no sexual intercourse for 1 week).
- The effect of treatment continues up to 6 months after the third procedure and lasts 18-24 months, after that 1 procedure per year is applied.
- Improves satisfaction from sexual intercourse due to tightening and firming of the vaginal walls.
What is the IncontiLase procedure?
Incontilase is a non-invasive laser therapy for the treatment of mild and moderate stress-incontinence as part of the Gynaelase Program (Er:YAG Laser Fotona).
How does IncontiLase work?
The method uses a special tip that controls radiation of laser energy, causing the heating of tissues along the urethra, the front vaginal wall, and the outer urethral opening. This controlled heating stimulates the synthesis of new collagen and remodels the existing, thus increasing the strengthening function of the connective tissue of the vaginal walls relative to the urethra and the bladder.
How does the treatment with IncontiLase feel?
During treatment, a special glass speculum is placed in the vagina. A source of specific laser beam is inserted through it, which emits short laser pulses on the vaginal walls. The procedure requires the application of local anesthetic or anesthetic cream around the opening of the urethra and at the end of the front vaginal wall. This makes it absolutely painless and tolerable.
It takes 20-30 minutes, after which the patient can return to her daily routine and activities. It is possible to have a clear discharge, as well as a slight swelling of the vaginal wall for 2-3 days after the procedure.
Three IncontiLase procedures, each performed over one month, are required to fully show the effect of the treatment.
Is there any scientific evidence for the effect of the treatment?
In clinical trials conducted by Fotona and the doctors, testing the effectiveness of the Er:Yag laser procedure on 107 patients with stress and mixed incontinence for a period of 12 months, the following results were achieved:
- Of the 51 patients with moderate to severe stress incontinence, 6 remained with moderate incontinence, 10 transitioned from severe to mild, and 35 reported no incontinence.
- Of 40 patients with moderate to severe mixed incontinence, 33 reported lack or mild incontinence, and 7 were left without improvement.
- 84 out of 107 patients who participated in the study rated improvement in incontinence 6 months after treatment as excellent, 15 reported significant improvement and 8 mild to moderate improvement.
- Side effects and discomfort during the procedure have not been reported.