Carl W. Soderstrom, MD Board Certified Dermatologist
Unsightly and sometimes painful veins are a common complaint of both men and women. Treatment options include surgical removal, sclerotherapy (liquid injection) and laser therapy.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2016, more than 217,179 people chose laser therapy to treat leg veins alone. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding laser vein treatment:
What is the difference between spider and varicose veins?
Varicose veins are bulging veins above the surface of the skin that can be blue, red or flesh covered. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but much smaller and closer to the surface of the skin.
Is something wrong with my veins?
Spider or varicose veins are very common. They are caused by weak or damaged valves in the veins. The heart pumps blood out through your arteries. Veins carry this blood back to the heart. If valves in the veins allow blood to leak back into the veins and collect there. This backed up blood causes pressure on enlarged veins making them more prominent.
I have small veins under my eyes. Is that common?
Yes. The most common areas for spider veins are the face (cheeks) and legs (thigh and calf) areas. In most cases, lasers can seal these blood vessels without bruising.
Are certain people at a higher risk?
Several factors may increase a person’s chances of developing spider/varicose veins including; age, heredity, hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and sun exposure.
What happens during the laser treatment?
Goggles will be worn to protect your eyes. A small hand piece is placed on the surface of the skin. The laser is activated and small pulses are directed at specific veins. Small spider veins may only need a few pulses, while larger veins may require more. In some cases, the smaller veins can actually be seen collapsing as it is treated.
Does the laser hurt?
Everybody’s pain tolerance is different. Some patients describe feeling a slight tingling or stinging sensation as the laser pulses. If you find it uncomfortable, a topical numbing cream can be applied.
Will I need more than one treatment?
When can I go back to work?
You should be able to return to work the same day. It may be recommended leg vein patients wear support stockings for a few days after the treatment. This will help to compress and seal the blood vessels that were treated.
How soon will I see results?
Blood vessels underneath the skin will gradually change from dark blue to light red, and eventually disappear in a few weeks.
Will my insurance cover the treatment?
Laser vein treatments are considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance.
Are there any potential complications?
As with any treatment, there are potential risks including burns, scars and infection. Your physician should discuss all of these risks during your consultation. Be sure your physician is part of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery. This means they have been trained and certified in this highly technical field of dermatology.
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