What are spider veins?
If you suffer from problems related to varicose and spider veins, you needn't feel alone. It is estimated that more than 80 million Americans suffer from some form of venous disorder. While some will seek treatment for cosmetic improvement, many are looking for relief from pain.
Whichever category you may be in, there is help available. Spider veins are small, enlarged blood vessels that appear red or blue.
These dilated vessels may be short, unconnected lines, each about the size of a large hair. Or, they may be connected in a matted "sunburst" pattern. They may also look like a spider web or a tree with branches. Although they can appear anywhere on the body, spider veins are usually found on the face and legs. In general they pose no health hazard, but may cause a dull aching or burning in the legs after prolonged standing.
The cause of spider veins is not completely known. In many cases, there appears to be a genetic disposition. Also, reports have shown that pregnancy, hormonal changes, weight gain, leg injury or prolonged standing may influence their occurrence.
What is laser vein removal?
Laser technology offers a very effective means of treating spider veins. The laser has a unique ability to selectively target blood vessels without adversely affecting surrounding tissues. Laser light is specifically absorbed by the spider veins. The vessels are gently heated, causing the blood in the vessels to clot. The body reabsorbs the treated blood vessels during the natural healing process.
How long do treatments take?
The laser beam can deliver energy to a large area with each pulse, so laser vein removal takes just a few minutes to treat each discolored vein.
How many treatments will I need?
Depending upon the severity of the veins, you may require between 1 and 3 laser treatments, spaced at 6 weeks apart. The treatment is performed on the existing blood vessels, diminishing or completely eliminating their appearance. However, any new developing veins cannot be prevented. If your body tends to develop broken blood vessels, you will probably have to return for further treatments.
Does it hurt?
Most people describe laser vein removal as mildly uncomfortable but not painful. It has been described as a rubber band snap.
What happens to the skin after the treatment?
Patients may experience some temporary redness, swelling or bruising. This doesn't happen often, and is typically gone within a few hours. Others may experience changes in skin color, but these will disappear and return to normal over time.
Is there anything I should avoid after treatment?
We recommend that you avoid hot tubs, vigorous exercise, aspirin, and alcohol for three days following your treatment.
What are the alternatives to laser vein removal?
Sclerotherapy is the most commonly used method of non-laser vein removal. Like laser treatment, it is relatively inexpensive and can be performed on an outpatient basis. Sclerotherapy requires multiple sessions. One to three injections are usually required to effectively treat any vein. Post treatment therapy includes wearing bandages and support hose for two days to two weeks following treatment. The treated blood vessels disappear over a period of six months.