Laser Spider Vein Treatment
Laser spider vein treatments can be your answer to unsightly blemishes on the legs. Spider veins, reticular veins and varicose veins each are different in appearance, depth, size, and color. Because of the differences, they are each treated differently, though the cause is the same. They are produced by an increase in the venous pressure. Veins unlike arteries have a system of valves to halt the back flow of blood as it is returned to the heart. Veins are not subject to blood pressure like the arteries, this pressure dissipates in the capillary system before the blood transitions to the venous system.
Veins require internal pressure from muscle contractions to fight gravity to move blood toward the heart, Valves in the veins then catch the blood and make it a one way trip. When the valves fail, blood is allowed to pool and venous pressure increases. As the venous pressure increases the veins expand becoming more visible. The size and depth of the veins affected will determine type of vein and the treatment required.
How Laser Spider Vein Treatment Works
The target or chromophore in the laser spider vein treatment is the hemoglobin in red blood cells (RBC’s) which are in the veins. Therefore, the energy must pass through the layers of the skin through the vein walls to reach the targeted hemoglobin. When the energy from the laser reaches the hemoglobin it gets very hot very fast and cauterizes or destroys the vein.
There are some factors limiting the capabilities of the laser and how effective lasers can be. These factors include melanin in the skin, depth and size of the vein, and color. As you have learned from the Understanding Lasers and Laser Treatments page, energy from the laser is highly absorbed by hemoglobin and melanin. Darker complected individuals (with increased melanin in the skin) will have more energy absorbed in the skin and less energy getting to the hemoglobin. This will increase the heat in the skin and reduce the amount of energy getting to the vein. Because melanin is what makes people tan, it is not recommended people tan or have any skin dyes (paint on tan) placed on the skin prior to the treatment.
Reticular and Spider Vein Laser Treatments
In laser spider vein treatment, the parameters on the laser must be set at a higher level than some other treatments. These treatments require cooling of the skin prior to and after each burst of the laser. This protects and numbs the area. These treatments can cause mild discomfort and do not require anesthesia. There is no down time or post operative care normally. It is not uncommon to have a browning or hyperpigmentation in the treatment area. These can be made worse with sun exposure, it is important to limit sun exposure after these treatments by clothing or using 50 SPF sunblock.
Varicose veins are deeper, larger, contorted, and typically less colored. Because these veins are deeper and less colored, varicose veins can NOT be treated superficially with a laser. The Sclerotherapy or endovenous thermal ablation treatments are used to destroy these veins from the inside. Sclerotherapy requires a chemical to be injected into the vein, this chemical then reduces the pressure in side the vein and the bulge disappears. Endovenous thermal ablation utilizes a laser inserted into the vein so it can cauterize internal walls the vein.
Laser Spider Vein Expectations
- Patients will normally need 2-3 treatments to get 80% resolution.
- Redness and raised tissue surrounding the vessels is expected
- Bruising is expected for the first few weeks
- Small mild blisters are undesirable but may occur
- Thrombosis or hardening and darkening of the vessels is expected for larger veins- these will be absorbed over time
- Hemosiderin a biproduct of the hemoglobin will darken the skin and slowly fade over time- this may require many months.
- Must wear SPF 50 sunscreen on any treated areas for at least 3-6 months after the procedure.
Laser Spider Vein Treatment and Pricing
As with many conditions spider veins come in many varieties of severity and surface area coverage. This requires a common sense approach when determining pricing for a laser spider vein treatment. Someone who has spider veins the size of a playing card should not pay as much as someone who has 3 times that surface area. You will see many specials or deals offered on discount websites, most of these are for limited areas and only include certain areas. It is very important to get these questions answered prior to purchasing any treatment package. Because their is no one size fits all for spider veins we offer a free consultation to those who are serious about reducing the appearance of their spider veins.