Non-ablative erbium YAG laser for the treatment of type III stress urinary incontinence (intrinsic sphincter deficiency)


The objective of this pilot study was to determine the safety and efficacy of a new non-ablative erbium YAG laser procedure for the treatment of type III stress urinary incontinence (intrinsic sphincter deficiency) in women. Twenty-two patients with a Valsalva leak point pressure less than 60 cm H2O were recruited and treated with a non-ablative erbium laser delivering low fluence pulses inside the whole length of the urethra through a specially designed cannula. Treatment consisted of two treatment sessions with a 3-week interval in-between. Therapeutic efficacy, as assessed by a questionnaire addressing quality of life during urinary incontinence and the 1-h pad test, was measured at 3 and 6 months after the procedure. Both methods of assessment showed similar levels of improvement in terms of incontinence severity and improvement in quality of life. All patients tolerated the therapy well and adverse effects were mild and transient. The results of this pilot study showed significant improvement of type III stress urinary incontinence. Despite the limitations of this study, being small patient number and short follow-up, this non-ablative intraurethral erbium YAG laser procedure seems to be a safe and efficacious alternative for patients with type III stress urinary incontinence. More controlled studies should be performed to confirm this data and to evaluate the long-term effects.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adrian Gaspar.

Ethics declarations

The study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Declaration. All patients provided written informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Gaspar, A., Brandi, H. Non-ablative erbium YAG laser for the treatment of type III stress urinary incontinence (intrinsic sphincter deficiency). Lasers Med Sci 32, 685–691 (2017).

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  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Laser therapy
  • Erbium