Laser Vein Removal
Who wants the unsightly web of purple, blue, or red spider veins on your thighs, ankles, and calves? And those tiny red lines from broken capillaries on your nose and cheeks aren’t exactly attractive. At Laser & Mohs Dermatology of New York, we treat these veins and broken capillaries with our Lumenis Nd:YAG laser, which safely and effectively removes them.
What Are Spider Veins?
Whether due to aging, pressure from too much standing, hormonal changes, or weight gain, our legs can develop spider veins. Gravity is also to blame, as veins need to move de-oxygenated blood from the extremities back up to the heart. In the legs, this is an uphill path. As we age, our surrounding muscles provide less help supporting the blood flowing back up to the heart. This allows the blood to pool in places, creating spider veins and larger varicose veins. Spider veins can be seen through the skin because they are relatively close to the surface.
What Causes Broken Capillaries?
Broken capillaries are similar in appearance to spider veins, but are more often red in color. Like spider veins, they don’t pose any health risk but are cosmetically unappealing. Broken capillaries usually occur on the cheeks and nose. They are the tiny veins that show through the skin surface, as spider veins do. Although broken capillaries can result from a number of factors such as hormonal changes, on the nose and cheeks they are primarily the result of sun damage.
Lumenis Laser Procedure
In a laser vein removal session, Laser & Mohs Dermatology of New York will start by applying a topical anesthetic to the treatment area. Next, the Lumenis laser wavelength is set to match the color of the vein or capillary, be it purple, red, or blue. We then deliver the laser energy in shorts bursts. The light energy penetrates the skin surface and the blood in the targeted vein absorbs the energy. The energy converts to heat and coagulates the blood inside the vein, causing it to collapse and seal. Over the next few weeks, the vessel will disappear and the body’s lymphatic system will remove all of the blood. Thanks to the precision of the Lumenis Nd:YAG laser, we are able to precisely target the vein without harming nearby tissue.
This precision allows the use of the laser on broken capillaries on the nose and cheeks. Sclerotherapy, the other method of removing spider veins, is not used on the face, but lasers allow treatment of these more sensitive areas with great results.
Is Laser Vein Removal Painful?
Because the pulses of laser energy are followed by pauses where no energy is delivered, this allows the skin to cool during these delays. Also, the Lumenis laser has a cooling tip that prevents it from overheating and causing skin damage. The combination makes laser vein removal quite comfortable. When the laser pulse is delivered the patient will feel a slight tingling sensation.
How Many Laser Treatments Will I Need?
Many spider veins and broken capillaries respond to a single treatment very well. Others are more stubborn and may require two to three treatments to fully clear. We space these treatments at 4-6 week intervals.
Advantages of Using Lasers for Vein Removal
Whether you prefer laser vein removal or sclerotherapy — we offer both treatments at Laser & Mohs Dermatology — there are differences. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein to make it collapse and close off. Some people don’t like the numerous injections and the sclerant can cause itching and irritation for a short period of time after your session. Lasers, obviously, don’t involve any injections and they can treat numerous veins in the area at one time.
Recovery from Laser Vein Removal
Immediately after your treatment, patients often feel a slight bump on the skin above the treated vein. This passes in a few hours. The treated area will also be a little red, as if slightly bruised. If you’re treating a number of veins, wearing compression hose for up to two weeks helps the body start on the process of absorbing the now unused veins. Strenuous activities should wait a day or two, but otherwise, there isn’t any real “recovery” time.