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Adjunctive laser treatment maximizes treatment outcomes of vulvar lichen sclerosus.

Laser treatment combined with traditional topical treatments shows improvement in symptoms of vulvar lichen sclerosus.

By Emilee Green | Oct 18, 2021

LSM October Editor's Choice

Wausau, WI (October 18, 2021) – Uncontrolled vulvar lichen sclerosus (VLS) is often associated with distressful symptoms of genital itch, irritation, and pain and can lead to a pathological process including anatomical changes, scarring, and an elevated risk of cancer in the genital area. VLS is a relatively common condition with effective treatment. However, in most cases, women often suffer from the consequences of delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment. This study investigated the use of an adjunctive laser to the current standard treatment to maximize treatment outcomes for refractory cases. 

The clinical report, led by Kristen Stewart, MD, is titled “Fractional CO2 laser treatment as adjunctive therapy to topical steroids for managing vulvar lichen sclerosus.” 

This study, published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine (LSM), the official journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS), was selected as the October 2021 Editor’s Choice.

“Vulvar lichen sclerosus is a relatively common condition that, unfortunately, is often under-recognized and under-treated by medical providers. Vulvar lichen sclerosus can have devastating effects on a woman’s quality of life,” said Stewart. “We designed this study to delineate the effectiveness of continued traditional topical therapy plus adjunctive laser treatment.”

First-line topical corticosteroid as monotherapy is frequently not adequate to fully suppress disease activity and control symptoms. This study evaluated the efficacy of fractional CO2 laser treatments as adjunctive therapy where recalcitrant VLS had been improved, but not adequately controlled with topical corticosteroid treatment. Fractional CO2 laser treatment may provide an advanced treatment modality for managing recalcitrant VLS with improved patient care and sustainable outcomes.

Kristen Stewart, MDDr. Stewart is a board-certified dermatologist in Jacksonville, Florida.  She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and completed her residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  She is the owner of Total Dermatology Care Center where her practice focuses on medical and vulvar dermatology.

Editor’s Choice is an exclusive article published in LSM, the official journal of the ASLMS. View the complete manuscript.

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) is the largest multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to the development and application of lasers and related technology for health care applications. ASLMS promotes excellence in patient care by advancing biomedical application of lasers and other related technologies worldwide. ASLMS membership includes physicians, surgeons, nurses, and allied health professionals representing multiple specialties, physicists involved in product development, biomedical engineers, biologists, industry representatives and manufacturers. For more information, visit


The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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