The study presents an assessment of mechanism of action and a pilot clinical study of efficacy and safety of the Er:YAG laser for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The subject of this study is a treatment of SUI with a 2940 nm Er:YAG laser, operating in a special SMOOTH mode designed to increase temperature of the vaginal mucosa up to maximally 60-65 °C without ablating the epidermis. Numerical modelling of the temperature distribution within mucosa tissue following an irradiation with the SMOOTH mode Er:YAG laser was performed in order to determine the appropriate range of laser parameters. The laser treatment parameters were further confirmed by measuring in vivo temperatures of the vaginal mucosa using a thermal camera. To investigate the clinical efficacy and safety of the SMOOTH mode Er:YAG laser SUI treatment, a pilot clinical study was performed. The study recruited 31 female patients suffering from SUI. Follow-ups were scheduled at 1, 2, and 6 months post treatment. ICIQ-UI questionnaires were collected as a primary trial endpoint. Secondary endpoints included perineometry and residual urine volume measurements at baseline and all follow-ups. Thermal camera measurements have shown the optimal increase in temperature of the vaginal mucosa following treatment of SUI with a SMOOTH mode Er:YAG laser. Primary endpoint, the change in ICIQ-UI score, showed clinically relevant and statistically significant improvement after all follow-ups compared to baseline scores. There was also improvement in the secondary endpoints. Only mild and transient adverse events and no serious adverse events were reported. The results indicate that non-ablative Er:YAG laser therapy is a promising minimally invasive non-surgical option for treating women with SUI symptoms.
Keywords: Er:YAG laser; Minimally invasive SUI therapy; Stress urinary incontinence.