Laser vein treatment is a cosmetic procedure which uses a beam of light to treat swollen or bulging veins such as varicose veins or spider veins by causing them to shrink and close. Laser vein treatment involves using an Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet, or YAG laser, to target the hemoglobin which gives the blood its red color. The energy from the laser is absorbed by the hemoglobin and causes it to heat up and close without harming the surrounding tissues. This will cause the vein to disappear while leaving behind a better skin tone.
A GOOD CANDIDATE for laser vein treatment includes:
The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for laser vein treatments:
Laser vein treatment can be performed in a doctor’s office or vein clinic and is considered an outpatient procedure. The procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour and is typically performed under local anesthesia. Prior to the treatment, the doctor will cover the eyes and this is especially true when the laser is used on the facial area. A special handpiece, with a cooling tip, is passed over the treatment area to target only the selected vessels. For the most effective treatment, the doctor will treat the larger veins before treating the smaller spider and reticular vessels. The laser light becomes absorbed by the blood which causes it to heat up, coagulate and form scar tissue. The scar tissue doesn’t allow any blood to pass through the vessel. This process will cause the vessel to be destroyed and fade over time.
Sclerotherapy which is a non-invasive method for destroying bulging veins by injecting a highly concentrated solution of salt into it. The vessel will collapse, stick together and close off. This will cause the vessel to be destroyed and eventually fade away. Sclerotherapy is comparable to laser treatments with small veins or spider veins.
Microsclerotherapy is when a small amount of liquid chemical is injected into a vein using a very fine needle. The chemical scars the inner lining of the vein which causes it to close off.
Endovenous Ablation Therapy
Endovenous ablation therapy uses lasers or radio waves to create heat that closes off a varicose vein. The doctor makes a tiny cut in the skin near the varicose vein and then inserts a catheter into the vein. A device at the tip of the catheter heats up the inside of the vein and closes it off.
Endoscopic Vein Surgery
Endoscopic vein surgery is when the doctor makes a small cut in the skin near a varicose vein. A tiny camera at the end of a thin tube is moved through the veins. A surgical device at the end of the camera is then used to close the veins.
The cost of laser vein treatment is $1500 to $3000. The cost can vary depending on fees charged by the doctor and the geographic location of the procedure. More than one session will usually be required to treat the veins with recommended intervals of 4 to 6 weeks. If new veins appear, additional treatments will be required.
After laser vein treatment is performed, the skin may have some slight bumps which should disappear a few hours after treatment. The skin will have a reddish tone at the start of the RECOVERY process and will also appear scratched. However, these side effects will subside over a few days. Bruising is also common and will fade within 7 to 10 days. Patients should wear compression socks or support hose during the first 2 to 3 days to help reduce bruising and keep the treated veins closed.
In terms of DOWNTIME, patients will be able to resume work and normal activities immediately after treatment. High impact activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least one week. Patients should also avoid direct sunlight for the first few weeks.
It can take some time for the results of laser vein treatment to become apparent. After the treatment, the vessels under the skin will become dark blue before changing to a light red color. They will begin to fade and disappear within 2 to 6 weeks but the final results may not be seen for several months. While laser vein treatment can remove prominent veins, and improve the appearance of the skin, it cannot stop new veins from forming. Therefore, patients may need periodic treatments to maintain the results. However, wearing compression stockings and elevating the legs after walking or running may prevent recurrence.
The limitations of laser vein treatments include:
The risk involved with laser vein therapy may include:
Laser vein treatments can erase or improve prominent veins and can also be used on various parts of the body (including the face). Laser vein treatments are considered non-invasive and can provide more aesthetically pleasing skin tones with little to no recovery or downtime. Patients should consult with a board-certified surgeon or vein specialist to find out if they are an ideal candidate for laser vein treatments. The doctor will perform a consultation and examination to determine if laser vein treatment is the ideal treatment option.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - SP
Based on an exclusvie interview by Dr. Pamela Carr in Sugar Land, TX