Total Woman Care has brought a new treatment, called MonaLisa Touch, to Elkin. Used to treat post-menopausal symptoms, the treatment is a safer option than hormone replacement therapy, according to Dr. Peter McIlveen, of Total Woman Care.
“I think this is the best gynecologic innovation in 20 years,” said McIlveen.
Receiving FDA approval in December 2014, MonaLisa Touch is a laser treatment which provides relief from vaginal dryness, itching and burning, as well as relieving painful intercourse and urination. The procedure has been available in Europe for many years, where it also is used to treat lichen sclerosis and urinary symptoms. McIlveen explained, “There are currently trials in the United States” to expand the FDA approved uses.
“In menopause you have lack of estrogen, and that causes the tissue, especially in the genital area, to get thinner and more dry,” said McIlveen. The laser warms the underlying tissue, creating increased blood flow, stimulating collagen and elastin formation, and restoring the tissue to a healthy condition.
Hormone replacement therapy has been the medical industry standard for treating patients with post-menopausal issues. “People who have had breast cancer, blood clots, hypertension or coronary heart disease are not good candidates to be taking hormone therapy, so they just had to suffer,” said McIlveen.
A study, called the Women’s Health Initiative, showed increased risk of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, venous thrombosis, stroke, and dementia to women taking hormone therapy. According to McIlveen, in more than 20,000 people treated with MonaLisa Touch there have been no significant side effects, making this procedure “risk-free.”
While hormone therapy is taken daily, the MonaLisa Touch treatment consists of only three five-minute sessions scheduled six weeks apart after an initial consultation. Unlike surgery, there is no recovery time associated with MonaLisa Touch. An annual tune-up also is recommended.
The procedure includes a numbing medicine and internal and external application of the fractional CO2 laser. “CO2 is a very strong laser, at 10,600 nanometers,” said McIlveen, explaining that being fractional, it treats only about 10 percent of the surface area. The effect is a rejuvenation of the tissue in the treated area. No anesthesia is necessary.
While MonaLisa Touch is not covered by insurance, the clinic does offer payment plans, making the $1,500 treatment comparable to the out-of-pocket cost for hormone therapy, said McIlveen.
As the only clinic providing MonaLisa touch within a 50-mile radius, Drs. McIlveen and Diane Moon, of Total Woman Care, expressed their excitement about the treatment. “We want to educate people, so they know this is an option that is available to them,” McIlveen said.
Total Woman Care, located at 942 Johnson Ridge Road in Elkin, can be contacted at 336-526-3500. More information about MonaLisa Touch, including an educational video, can be found on the website: www.totalwomancare.net.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.