Efficacy and safety of intraurethral Erbium:YAG laser treatment in women with stress urinary incontinence following failed intravaginal laser therapy: a retrospective study

Tseng, Y.-L. & Su, C.-F.
Lasers in medical science,2023; 38(1), p.207.


Urinary incontinence (UI) is a prevalent condition affecting 25-45% of women and is linked to factors such as menopause, parity, high body mass index, and radical pelvic surgery. Among the three types of UI, stress incontinence (SUI) is the most common, accounting for almost 50% of cases, followed by urgency and overflow incontinence. UI has been found to be associated with reduced quality of life and mental stress. Non-invasive laser treatment is the safest and most effective option for managing SUI, with intraurethral Erbium SMOOTHTM laser treatment holding promise for patients experiencing SUI even after undergoing previous failed intravaginal Erbium:YAG laser treatment.

Materials and Methods:

The study recruited 93 female patients with mild to moderate SUI who had received two courses of intravaginal Erbium:YAG laser between January 2015 and June 2018. Of these, 22 patients (23%) who continued to experience SUI after a four-week interval for a second intravaginal Erbium:YAG laser were selected for intraurethral laser treatment in January 2019. The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated by comparing the pre- and post-treatment ICIQ-UI SF score. The urethral length was measured before the procedure. The main procedure involved delivering non-ablative laser energy using Erbium SMOOTHTM technology 2940 nm via a 4-mm cannula with personalized length and fluence was 1.5 J/cm. The 22 female patients with persistent SUI received intraurethral Erbium:YAG laser treatment. Their average age was 47.5 years, with an average of 2 parities and a mean body mass index of 20.97.


All patients completed the ICIQ-SF questionnaire before and 3 months after the procedure. Of the patients, 77% reported improvement in symptoms, with 6 reporting strong improvement and 11 reporting improvement. The treatment was well-tolerated, with mild and transient adverse effects such as urinary infection in 1 patient (4.5%) and mild pain in 7 patients (31.8%). Intraurethral laser treatment may be helpful for Taiwanese women with persistent SUI after vaginal laser treatment. However, patients with prior pelvic surgery or pelvic organ prolapse history may limit the efficacy of intraurethral laser. Additional research is necessary to comprehensively investigate the advantages of intraurethral laser therapy. However, using intraurethral Erbium SMOOTHTM laser treatments to rejuvenate tissues and enhance structural support could be a promising avenue for managing stress urinary incontinence in Taiwanese women.

Keywords: Erbium:YAG laser; Genitourinary syndrome of menopause; Intraurethral laser; Stress urinary incontinence.

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