The Effect of Vaginal Microablative Fractional CO2 Laser Treatment on Vaginal Cytology

Lasers Surg Med. 2020 Oct;52(8):708-712. doi: 10.1002/lsm.23211. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Background and objectives: Most recently vaginal laser treatment was introduced as a new option for women with genitourinary syndrome of menopause, vaginal dryness. Our objective was to assess the effects of intravaginal CO2 laser treatment on vaginal cytology.

Study design/materials and methods: Fifty-two women with symptoms of vaginal dryness were enrolled and underwent vaginal laser treatment using a fractional CO2 laser. Patients received three vaginal laser treatments 4 weeks apart. Vaginal cytology was obtained before the first treatment and 4 weeks after each additional treatment. Vaginal dryness was assessed by using a Visual Analog Scale (VAS).

Results: Out of the 52 women enrolled, 34 were in menopause. Postmenopausal women had significantly lower vaginal maturation values (VMV) compared with premenopausal women at the baseline visit (mean ± standard deviation [SD], 42 ± 23 vs. 68 ± 13, P < 0.01). The vaginal dryness VAS was higher (worse) in postmenopausal women compared with premenopausal cases (mean ± SD, 5.7 ± 4 vs. 2.4 ± 3, P < 0.01). The VMV did not change significantly over time after vaginal laser treatment. However vaginal dryness VAS improved significantly after each treatment. Both in the premenopausal and postmenopausal groups, vaginal dryness scores improved significantly from baseline after the three treatments (postmenopausal 5.7 ± 4 vs. 1.6 ± 2.5, P < 0.01 and premenopausal 2.4 ± 3 vs. 0.2 ± 0.5, P < 0.01). Those patients who had improvement in VMV had significantly better (lower) dryness VAS compared with those women without an improvement in VMV after the three treatments (mean ± SD, 0.3 ± 0.8 vs. 1.6 ± 2.6, P = 0.04).

Conclusions: Vaginal dryness VAS improved significantly in a cohort of premenopausal and postmenopausal women undergoing vaginal CO2 laser treatment despite no significant change in vaginal cytology. Lasers Surg. Med. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: CO2 laser; fractional laser; vagina; vaginal cytology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Gas* / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vagina / surgery
  • Vaginal Diseases* / surgery


  • Carbon Dioxide