Laser Vein Removal
Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and tortuous. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Veins have leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (retrograde). Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart, against the effects of gravity. When veins become varicose, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work. This allows blood to flow backwards and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides cosmetic problems, varicose veins are often painful, especially when standing or walking. They often itch, and scratching them can cause ulcers. Serious complications are rare. Non-surgical treatments include sclerotherapy, elastic stockings, elevating the legs, and exercise.
The traditional surgical treatment has been vein stripping to remove the affected veins. Newer, less invasive treatments, such as ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser treatment, are slowly replacing traditional surgical treatments. Because most of the blood in the legs is returned by the deep veins, the superficial veins, which return only about 10 per cent of the total blood of the legs, can usually be removed or ablated without serious harm. Varicose veins are distinguished from reticular veins (blue veins) and telangiectasias (spider veins), which also involve valvular insufficiency, by the size and location of the veins.
Laser treatment of spider veins
During laser treatment, a laser is applied to the skin over your spider veins. Laser energy causes your spider veins to coagulate and shrink. Laser therapy is most effective for small and medium size spider veins. Large spider veins respond poorly and are best treated with sclerotherapy. You are likely to experience mild discomfort similar to having a small rubber band snapping against skin. Treatments usually do not require sedatives, pain medications, or injections of local anesthetic. Immediately following treatment, spider veins will be darker and more visible. Over two to six weeks, your spider veins usually fade. After each treatment, you will see a 70% to 80% improvement in the appearance of face spider veins and 30-40% improvement in leg spider veins. An average of three treatments will be required at three-month
intervals to produce desired results. Combination therapy can be considered and beneficial if you have small, medium and large spider veins. You may wish to start with sclerotherapy, because sometimes all veins will be improved after injecting the larger ones. This may reduce the number of veins that need to be treated by laser and minimize your overall cost.
Spider Veins of the Face
A patient with spider veins in the face will usually choose to have laser therapy rather than sclerotherapy. Laser treatment may cause minor bruising that usually improves within a week, but often, recovery is immediate. Two to four treatments may be required to achieve your desired result. Immediately following treatment, you may apply makeup for a presentable appearance.
How do I know if I am a candidate for laser vein treatment?
All individuals are evaluated prior to laser therapy. Spider veins do not cause symptoms and are of a cosmetic concern only. For those who have symptoms, further investigation is done to ensure that they do not have varicose veins. Laser therapy is most effective for the very small spider veins and not used to treat large varicose veins.
Do I require a preparation before laser therapy?
There is no prior preparation required before laser therapy. The procedure is done in a doctor’s office or clinic and usually takes less than 10-20 minutes.
What happens during the laser therapy?
Only the very small superficial veins are treated with a laser. Generally no anesthetic is required for the procedure. The laser has a specialized chilled hand piece which acts to cool the surface of the skin while the beam from the laser penetrates the skin. Pulses of light energy are then administered in a sequential fashion.
Is laser therapy painful?
During your treatment, you will feel a slight tingling sensation as the laser fires. If the individual feels any pain, a topical local anesthetic is applied 20 minutes before the procedure.
When do the spider veins disappear?
The majority of the treated spider veins will disappear within two to three treatments. The treatments can be spaced four to six weeks apart. If new veins appear, additional treatments are required for optimum results. The treatments may be spaced every three to four week intervals.
What are side effects of laser therapy?
The skin above the veins will have a reddish, cat-scratch appearance. This generally disappears over the next two days
What happens after laser therapy?
Patients are encouraged to resume all normal activities immediately. Final results may not be apparent for several months. Most patients are satisfied by the results in a very short time.
Are there any other risks with laser therapy?
The risks associated with laser vein therapy are minimal. Your eyes will be shielded during the treatments. Most facilities use state-of-the-art cooling systems, thus the treatments are low risk and relatively pain-free
How many treatments will I need?
Depending on the size and number of veins, two to six treatments will be needed.
Is laser therapy covered by medical insurance?
No, spider veins are only of cosmetic nuisance and not covered by medical insurance or Medicare.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician. By VeinDirectory.org Staff