To review the short-term effects and safety of vulvovaginal fractional microablative CO2 laser therapy on atrophy symptoms using validated questionnaires pre- and posttreatment.
This is a retrospective chart review from January, 2016 to December, 2019 on 139 women with vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms, who completed three treatments about 6 weeks apart. All were >18 years old and nonpregnant. As is the practice in our clinic for all women receiving treatment, they were surveyed prior to the 1st and 3rd treatments with validated questionnaires, Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Vulvovaginal Symptoms Questionnaire (VSQ), as well as a visual analog scale (VAS). Paired t test was completed on the pre- and post FSFI and VAS scores. Pre- and postproportions of the VSQ were evaluated by the Fisher's exact test. Means were presented for each study variable. Multivariable regression analysis was completed on continuous and binomial variables for scores predictors.
Mean age was 62 years with a mean follow-up of 13.8 weeks. Concomitant topical estrogen was reported in 53% (n = 74). Breast cancer diagnosis was documented in 27% (n = 38), and lichen sclerosus in 22% (n = 31). All FSFI scores improved (pre: 12.7, post: 19.0, P < 0.001). The VSQ showed 18 of 21 questions significantly improved (P < 0.05). The VAS showed significant improvement in painful intercourse (pre: 6.6, post: 2.4, P < 0.001), and vulvar dryness (pre: 4.6, post: 1.5, P < 0.001). Posttreatments, 17 additional women became sexually active. No major adverse events were reported.
Fractional CO2 laser may be effective and safe for the treatment vulvovaginal atrophy.