Comparison between erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser therapy and sling procedures in the treatment of stress and mixed urinary incontinence

Okui N.
World J Urol (2019); 37(5):885-889. doi: 10.1007/s00345-018-2445-x

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) lead to poor quality of life. In Japan, urinary incontinence is treated with tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) or transobturator tape (TOT) sling procedures, which involves inserting a synthetic material; however, problems arise with artificial mesh in some instances, requiring new treatment methods. Hence, laser therapy, whereby an erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser is directed into the vagina and urethra, may be useful. The study aimed to compare the effects of these three treatments.

Subjects included patients who received TVT, TOT, or laser therapy (n = 50 each). The 1-h pad test, International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form (ICIQ-SF), and overactive bladder symptom score were used to assess the patients before and 12 months after treatment. For laser therapy, a probe was inserted into the vagina after applying a local anesthetic to the vaginal wall, and irradiation was performed for 20 min at a wavelength of 2940 nm. This treatment was performed three times every alternate month.

As per the 1-h pad test and ICIQ-SF, the TVT, TOT, and laser therapy groups showed comparable improvements in SUI. For patients with MUI, some in the TVT and TOT groups showed exacerbation; however, all patients in the laser therapy group tended to improve.

The efficacy of laser therapy for urinary incontinence was confirmed. This is the first study to report on the effect of laser therapy on urinary incontinence in Japanese women.

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