Superficial dyspareunia treatment with hyperstacking of erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet SMOOTH laser: a short-term, pilot study in breast cancer survivors

Fidedicchi, T., Gaspar, A., Gambacciani M.
The Journal of The North American Menopause Society

Background

This prospective pilot study aimed to evaluate the effects of a modified vaginal erbium laser (VEL) protocol, using the hyperstack mode on the vaginal vestibulum and introitus to treat superficial dyspareunia in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors suffering from the genitourinary syndrome of menopause.

Materials and methods

In this pilot, prospective, randomized study, two groups of postmenopausal women suffering from superficial dyspareunia were included: 34 women (VEL group) were treated with erbium laser crystal yttrium-aluminum-garnet (XS Fotona SMOOTH; Fotona, Ljubljana, Slovenia) with a wavelength of 2,940 nm; for the other 34 (hyperstack group), a modified second step of the VEL protocol for the treatment of vestibulum and introitus was used, with hyperstacked (repeating a number of) subablative, long pulses with very low fluences. For each group, three laser applications at 30-day intervals were performed. Symptoms were assessed before, after each application, and after 1 and 3 months from the last laser application, using the visual analog scale score for superficial dyspareunia.

Results
Superficial dyspareunia improved in both groups over time (P < 0.001), regardless of age and years since menopause status. The reduction in visual analog scale score after the third laser application was 58% in VEL versus 73.5% in hyperstack. The hyperstack group, since the first laser application, showed a greater (P < 0.001) and persistent improvement of superficial dyspareunia.

Conclusion

The hyperstack treatment of the introitus and vestibulum in breast cancer survivors leads to a more significant improvement in superficial dyspareunia than the VEL alone.

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