Laser Treatment for Spider Veins
What is the role of Laser in the treatment of spider veins?
The best and gold standard treatment for spider veins is laser. Laser vein removal is an easy, fast, and effective way to treat superficial veins. Laser therapy has been used in the medicine for more than 30 years. Laser uses a focused beam of light. In the treatment of veins, the wavelength of light is targeted to the pigment in the blood. The laser heats up the small vein and destroys it. The laser beam is focused and does not damage the nearby skin tissue. Over a period of four to six weeks, the vein is reabsorbed by the body and disappears.
How does the laser work?
The laser pierces the skin and penetrates the superficial blood vessel. The heat generated from the laser coagulates the blood inside the vessel causing it to collapse and seal. Over the next few weeks, the vessel will disappear and all the blood will be removed by the body’s scavenging cells. The newer laser treatments allow the delivery of a precise dosage of energy to each blood vessel without injuring any nearby structures.
How do I know if I’m 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. There are no absolute reasons as to why one cannot undergo laser therapy. However one should:
- Be realistic about the procedure and results
- Have no disease of the blood vessels or problems with bleeding or scarring
What preparations must I take?
There are no major preparations required before the laser treatment. A few common sense recommendations include avoiding sun exposure, aspirin, alcohol and not smoke for at least a week prior to the procedure. On the day of the treatment one should avoid all creams, lotions and moisturizers on the area that is going to be treated. One should wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the body part(s).
What happens during the laser therapy?
The procedure usually takes a few minutes to less than an hour. In most cases, only the very small superficial veins are treated with a laser. The majority of individuals do not require any type of anesthesia, but for those who are squeamish or anticipate pain; our physician may prescribe a topical anesthetic to apply 10 minutes prior to the procedure. Lasers also have a cooling system which prevents the tip of the laser from getting hot.
Is laser therapy painful?
During your treatment, you may feel a slight tingling sensation as the laser fires. If the individual feels any pain, a topical local anesthetic is applied 10 minutes before the procedure.
How does one feel after the laser therapy?
Soon after the procedure, you may feel a slight bump on the skin which will disappear in the next 2-4 hours. The area may also appear slightly redder and occasionally may be bruised or crust over.
Are there any precautions after laser therapy?
After laser therapy, it is strongly recommended that one keep away from the sun. The pain is minimal and one may take any over the counter pain medications. After treatment, there is no down time. You can resume all of your normal activities immediately afterward but it is recommended that a patient keep the area covered with sunscreen and avoid physical activity within the first 24-72 hours.
How often can one undertake laser therapy for spider veins?
It is generally recommended that the treatments be spaced four to six weeks apart. If new veins appear, additional treatments are required for optimum results.
When can I go back to work 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.
How long does it take for the results to become evident?
The results of laser treatment for spider veins are not immediate. After the laser therapy, the vessels underneath the skin will gradually change in color, then eventually disappearing in two to six weeks. Most patients report a high degree of satisfaction with the procedure and relief at no longer having to hide unsightly veins. The treated areas are noticeably clearer and in most cases the skin continues to improve with each successive treatment. The majority of spider veins will disappear within two to four weeks, and in some cases even longer.
What are potential complications of laser therapy?
The skin above the veins will have a reddish, cat-scratch appearance. This generally disappears over the next two weeks.The risks associated with laser vein therapy are minimal. Your eyes will be shielded during the treatments. The treatments tend to be 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. The treatments are usually done 4-6 weeks apart. Those with a tendency towards vascular problems will most likely require additional treatments.
Is the Laser treatment for spider veins curative?
There is no cure for spider veins. Although treatment does not prevent the development of new spider veins, the removal of existing veins can dramatically improve the appearance of the affected area, providing a more youthful, healthy look and an even color pattern to the skin. Spider veins are recurrent and thus, more treatments will be required in the future.