To evaluate the available literature to assess the safety, efficacy, and outcomes of lasers in the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and overactive bladder (OAB).
Pubmed search was conducted up to May 2020, including observational and investigational human studies that documented the effects on laser treatment in SUI and OAB.
A total of 27 studies, recording subjective or objective measures in SUI or OAB were included. Lasers used included Er:YAG and Fractional CO2 lasers. The overall quality of studies was poor, and 23/27 studies were case series (LOE:4). Er:YAG laser showed a modest reduction in mild SUI cases, with benefits lasting a maximum of 13-16 months. Er:YAG laser for OAB showed conflicting results, with a trend to improve OAB symptoms for up to 12 months. Fractional CO2 laser showed an improvement of mild SUI in few studies; however, no long-term data are available. For OAB symptoms, studies showed minimal improvement that was evaluated in short term studies. When reported, adverse events were insignificant, however, they were not reported systematically. Several limitations have been noticed in the current literature of vaginal lasers, including large variation in laser settings and protocols, short term follow up, lack of urodynamic evaluation, and appropriate objective measures.
Based on the available literature, lasers cannot be recommended as a treatment option at this time. Future better-quality studies are needed to document the exact mechanism of action, longevity, safety and its eventual place into the current treatment algorithms of SUI and OAB.
International urogynecology journal. 2020 Nov 11 [Epub ahead of print]
Ali Alsulihem, Jacques Corcos
Department of Urology, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, 3755 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC, H3T 1E2, Canada., Department of Urology, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, 3755 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC, H3T 1E2, Canada. .