We are pleased to offer our patients over 12 years experience treating both facial and leg veins with our 1064 NdYag laser. More than other treatments, laser vein reduction requires a consultation to determine if our laser will work the best to treat your veins. Both on the face and the legs, there is an optimal size and color that responds well to laser treatment. Veins that are thin, fine and red may not respond as well as larger, purple and blue veins. Our laser will not work well on larger reticular or varicose veins.
How does it work?
Lasers produce a specific wavelength of light that can a specific object in the skin. In Laser Vein Reduction, the laser targets blood in the blood vessels. The interaction produces energy, which is best described and feels like heat, that damages the wall of the blood vessel. Once the blood vessel wall is damaged the blood vessel often immediately collapses. This leads to the deceiving appearance that the blood vessel is immediately removed. Actually, the blood vessel will be reabsorbed by the body over 6-8 weeks. While face vein treatments often have no down time, leg veins ofter look worse initially and require 2-3 months to look good.
What results can be expected?
If a vein goes completely away with treatment, it should not return. Occasionally the body reopens the vessel before it is completely reabsorbed or the vessel only partially responds. Because of this, we find that patients may need 3-4 treatments that are 6-8 weeks apart. Also, the factors that contributed to the enlarged leg veins such as standing for long periods of time, female hormones, pregnancy, being overweight, or a family history of varicose veins may not change, and therefore, new veins tend to form over time. For facial veins, the underlying causes such as rosacea may still be present and new vessels may continue to develop. Most people are extremely happy with facial vein treatment. Leg veins, admittedly, are more difficult and take more treatments and time to look good.
What is Laser Vein Reduction like?
During a Laser Vein treatment, we will apply aloe vera gel to the area being treated. Depending on the extent of the veins, each treatment takes between 10 and 30 minutes. Subsequent treatments are performed no closer than 6 to 8 week intervals.
Most people find treatment of facial veins slightly uncomfortable, but treatment of leg veins is more painful. No sedation or pain reliever is desired or required, but patients should expect discomfort with both procedures.
The leg veins treated will usually look darker and a bit swollen after the procedure. There may be small pink bumps that resemble mosquito bites that can last a day or two. We recommend wearing medical grade support stockings for seven days after the procedure to alleviate these symptoms and to prevent the leg veins from reopening.
When we treat larger veins it is possible that a small amount of blood can “leak” out of the vessel before it is heat-sealed resulting in a bruise or discoloration of the skin. Bruises are temporary and resolve in 1-2 weeks. The risk increases if you take aspirin products or are on blood thinners. Because blood contains iron, it is possible for a brownish discoloration to result. This is temporary and will resolve in 2-3 months.
Uncommonly, a skin wound such as superficial blisters and scabs can occur, which heal within 2 days to 14 days. Use of antibiotic ointment on a regular basis usually results in uneventful healing. There is a <0.5% possibility of a skin wound leaving behind a permanent scar. It is also rare for an infection to occur since the skin is usually not broken.
What happens after Laser Vein treaments?
You may go directly back to work or your regular activities after a procedure. For face veins we recommend applying sunscreen daily and being extra gentle to the skin for one week. For leg veins, we recommend wearing medical grade support stockings for a minimum of seven days after the procedure. You should avoid strenuous exercise, alcohol, and aspirin products for 48 hours following the procedure.