The system can remove unsightly veins from all parts of the body. Small, facial veins can be treated quickly often in a single treatment. Spider veins and moderate size blue leg veins can also be treated with excellent results. Knotty or large varicose veins should be treated by a vascular surgeon. A careful evaluation with Dr. Kay will help you determine which vessels can be treated and the best course of treatment.
Simple laser vein treatment
is done on the outside of your skin. It can treat spider veins and tiny varicose veins just under the skin’s surface. Usually, more than one laser session is needed. They are scheduled every 6 to 12 weeks, as prescribed by your doctor. (If you have poor blood circulation feeding these tiny veins, the larger “feeder” vein must first be treated with surgery, endovenous laser or radiofrequency treatment, or sclerotherapy.)
Endovenous laser treatment
can treat larger varicose veins in the legs. A laser fiber is passed through a thin tube (catheter) into the vein. While doing this, the doctor watches the vein on a duplex ultrasound screen. Laser is less painful than vein ligation and stripping, and it has a shorter recovery time. Only local anesthesia or a light sedative is needed for laser treatment. (For ligation and stripping, general anesthesia is used to put you to sleep.)
Number of treatments
Often, patients find that one or two treatments are sufficient for facial veins and usually an average of 3 treatments will effectively reduce most spider veins on the legs. Results vary and some spider veins are the result of deeper vein problems and may not respond to either laser treatments or sclerotherapy. Signs of deeper vein problems that may best be evaluated by consulting a vascular surgeon are a lot of blue veins around the ankles or starburst clusters of veins on the inner knees.
There is a stinging sensation as the pulses of energy are delivered to the vein but most patients find the treatment very tolerable and no anesthesia or pain medication is needed. The Vantage laser tip is cooled which helps provide comfort. Most people who have had sclerotherapy or cauterization of veins in the past report that laser vein therapy is much more tolerable.
Following your treatment, some redness and swelling over the veins treated may occur, usually lasting only a day or two. Occasionally there may be some bruising following treatment. Rarely, when larger veins are treated, a tan or brownish pigment may persist for a few weeks up to months following treatment, similar to the pigment seen with sclerotherapy. The treated veins look almost blurred over the following weeks as they reabsorb.
Most patients find that facial veins are gone within a day or two and that most spider veins on the legs shrink within 4 to 8 weeks of treatment. With the larger greenish veins of the legs, your results may not be apparent for up to 3 months. Over time, it is possible for new veins to appear but these too can be removed.
Risks – Side effects of laser treatment include:
Skin coloring changes.
Feelings of burning, pain, or prickling after recovery, from nerve damage (less likely than after vein stripping surgery).
Small or large blood clotting in the vein or a deep vein (less likely than after vein stripping surgery).
The more experience your doctor has had with laser, the less risk you are likely to have.