Gynecologic Oncology Program

CO2 Laser Procedures

Laser surgery is an outpatient procedure that is used to treat pre-cancerous conditions of the vagina as well as some pre-cancerous conditions of the cervix and vulva. Typically prior to turning on the laser, surgeons will carefully examine the affected and nearby areas of the cervix, vagina, and vulva using colposcopic magnification and special staining with a mild acetic acid solution. Any areas that look more suspicious cancer (and not just pre-cancerous) can be biopsied prior to laser treatment. Patients usually can return to work in 1 to 2 days and most often any discomfort resulting from the laser procedure can be easily managed with a nonsteroidal analgesic (e.g., ibuprofen). The feeling most patients report is either a mild sunburn to the treated area or nothing at all. A great advantage of laser surgery is the complete avoidance of any surgical incisions whatsoever. This results in an excellent cosmetic outcome once healing has been completed after a few weeks.