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Carbon dioxide laser or radio frequency energy—which is the best option for vaginal rejuvenation?

There are two main laser technologies that offer similar results for vaginal rejuvenation:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Radiofrequency (RF)

These two treatments use heat to stimulate collagen production, which, in turn, tightens the vaginal wall tissue, increases lubrication and helps improve conditions such as stress urinary incontinence.

Both technologies treat the same symptoms but in slightly different ways.

There is a third option for vaginal rejuvenation—Erbium YAG (Er:YAG) laser therapy. This laser works in a similar way to CO2 lasers but has a shorter wavelength, meaning it can’t penetrate as deeply as the heat from a CO2 laser. Find out more about Er: YAG therapy here.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser treatment

This treatment uses the heat from a laser to stimulate collagen growth. Essentially, the laser tightens the existing collagen in the vaginal wall tissues and triggers the fibroblasts (the cells responsible for generating connective tissue) to produce more collagen.

The light energy from the CO2 laser penetrates deep into the dermis (the layer of tissue beneath the outer layer of skin), creating targeted ablative and thermal effects while keeping the surrounding tissue intact.

As the micro-wounds heal, the collagen already present in the vaginal walls strengthens and new collagen starts to form (a process known as neocollagenesis), completely rejuvenating the tissue.

Brands which use CO2 technology include:

  • FemiLift (and FemiTight for tightening the labia)
  • MonaLisa Touch
  • FemTouch
  • DiVa
  • CO2re Intima

Radiofrequency (RF) treatment

This treatment uses energy from radio waves to heat up the tissue in and around the vagina to stimulate collagen growth. RF treatment penetrates more deeply than laser treatment.

Brands which use RF technology include:

  • Viveve
  • ThermiVa
  • Ultra Femme 360
  • Votiva

Key similarities between CO2 and RF vagina rejuvenation

  • Both treatments treat the same symptoms.
  • Both treatments require a course of around three initial treatments, with yearly top-up treatments to maintain results. The exception to this is Viveve—a type of RF treatment—which only requires one initial session and yearly top-ups.
  • Both treatments are virtually pain-free and have very few side effects. The side effects they do have are similar and include mild swelling, irritation and light discharge.

Key differences between CO2 and RF vagina rejuvenation

 

CO2 laser treatment

RF laser treatment

How deeply does the laser penetrate?

CO2 penetrates 0.03 mm into the tissue, depending on the device

RF can penetrate as deeply as 5mm, depending on the device

How long does the procedure take?

5 minutes

30 minutes

(except for Ultra Femme 360, which takes only 8 minutes due to the unique design of the probe used in the procedure)

Can it treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) safely?

Yes—as the laser doesn’t penetrate the layers of tissue as deeply as RF energy

Yes, however it’s a riskier treatment for SUI—as the urethra sits against the front wall of the vagina, there’s a chance that RF waves could penetrate into the urethra and cause damage such as fibrosis and sternosis

How much recovery time would I need?

3 days—during which time you must:

  • abstain from sex
  • avoid using tampons
  • avoid submerging your body in water

Little to no downtime

What areas of the vagina can it treat?

Can treat the labia, but requires a different hand-piece—e.g. FemiTight, uses a hand piece called Defusion to tighten the labia

The same device can:

  • rejuvenate external areas of the vagina (labia) to neaten their appearance
  • tighten the vaginal canal

Key differences between CO2 and RF vagina rejuvenation

CO2 laser treatment

How deeply does the laser penetrate?

CO2 penetrates 0.03 mm into the tissue, depending on the device

How long does the procedure take?

5 minutes

Can it treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) safely?

Yes—as the laser doesn’t penetrate the layers of tissue as deeply as RF energy

How much recovery time would I need?

3 days—during which time you must:

  • abstain from sex
  • avoid using tampons
  • avoid submerging your body in water

What areas of the vagina can it treat?

Can treat the labia, but requires a different hand-piece—e.g. FemiTight, uses a hand piece called Defusion to tighten the labia

RF laser treatment

How deeply does the laser penetrate?

RF can penetrate as deeply as 5mm, depending on the device

How long does the procedure take?

30 minutes

(except for Ultra Femme 360, which takes only 8 minutes due to the unique design of the probe used in the procedure)

Can it treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) safely?

Yes, however it’s a riskier treatment for SUI—as the urethra sits against the front wall of the vagina, there’s a chance that RF waves could penetrate into the urethra and cause damage such as fibrosis and sternosis

How much recovery time would I need?

Little to no downtime

What areas of the vagina can it treat?

The same device can:

  • rejuvenate external areas of the vagina (labia) to neaten their appearance
  • tighten the vaginal canal

What is FemiLift?

FemiLift is a CO2 laser, which means it uses the heat generated by a laser to stimulate collagen growth and rejuvenate the vagina. Over 100,000 women across the globe have had this safe, quick and painless procedure, which helps to relieve a range of issues from vaginal laxity to stress urinary incontinence.

You can find out more about the procedure—including what’s involved and whether you’re a good candidate—and view patient videos and testimonials on our FemiLift vaginal rejuvenation page.

Femilift vaginal tightening laser treatment

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