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Medical Director responds to BBC News article

Mr Rowan Connell

Mr Rowan Connell FRCOG, Consultant Gynaecologist has responded to the article published on Wednesday 13 October on the BBC News website.

It states that there are no benefits to laser vagina menopause therapy according to researchers and that the NHS advisory body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says the therapy should only be used for research purposes.

Mr Connell, Consultant Gynaecologist has extensive experience in obstetrics and gynaecology, and is a Member of the British Menopause Society. Mr Connell specialises in a variety of treatments including:

Mr Connell said: “Following the article published on the 13 October, I wanted to reassure women who have any concerns. As a Consultant at Benenden Hospital, I have seen a large number of patients, including those that have recovered from breast cancer, that have benefited from MonaLisa Touch®. It is a gentle non-hormonal treatment for vaginal atrophy (thinning) both internally or externally. It’s a quick non-surgical and hormone-free treatment. The women have usually tried several treatments before, including Hormone Therapy. In all these women the treatment has worked well.

“There has a been a recent report Effect of Fractional Carbon Dioxide Laser vs Sham Treatment on Symptom Severity in Women With Postmenopausal Vaginal Symptoms : A Randomized Clinical Trial, from Australia looking at 85 women with postmenopausal vaginal symptoms, 43 had treatment with fractional carbon dioxide laser vs 42 having sham treatment – this showed that the laser was no better than the sham in improving vaginal symptoms after 12 months. Interestingly the fact that the power used in the laser group (using three different lasers) was 40W and in the sham group there was still a laser used 0.5, both treatments resulted in improvement."

“The numbers in this study were very small, compared to the data from large studies from Milan, which we used in deciding to offer this treatment at Benenden Hospital, which we started in 2017. The Milan study only used the MonaLisa Touch®, laser.

“The BBC story also linked with an USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report on the dangers of vaginal laser treatment. This specific treatment uses a different laser which uses a much higher power and is used for laser vaginal tightening. This technique is not carried out at Benenden Hospital.

We have been using MonaLisa Touch successfully since 2017. We do say that the responses to the laser treatment from our hospital show a varying success and as part of the consent process patients are made aware that the response is variable and non-predictable,we will continue to audit our figures and will certainly not change our use of this treatment for selected women based on one small study."

Published on 15 October 2021