Laser Vascular Treatment

LASER VASCULAR TREATMENT PATIENT INFORMATION

WHAT TYPE OF VESSELS CAN BE TREATED WITH THE LASER?

Spider veins, also called telangiectasia, are small red, blue or purple vessels that are close to the skin surface.  Laser therapy using the Laser produces a near infrared beam of light that selectively heats the undesirable blood vessels by coagulation of the blood vessel. The body then gradually absorbs the vessel.

WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN VESSELS BE TREATED?

Treatment options for these lesions include injections (sclerotherapy), electrosurgery freezing (cryotherapy) and even x-rays, surgery and skin grafting – all these therapies have variable results.

HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?

Spider veins (telangiectasia) may require 1 to 4 laser treatments with the majority of vessels gone with 1 or 2 treatments.  However, if new veins appear, additional treatments are required for optimum results.  Facial treatments are typically spaced every 4 to 6 weeks and leg treatments are typically spaced every 6 to 8 weeks as needed.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR TREATMENT?

  • Do not tan, do not use self-tanning products or expose the area to be treated to extreme light or sun for 2 weeks prior to each treatment.
  • Shave the area of any hair prior to treatment
  • Avoid the use of any medications known to increase photosensitivity for 2 weeks before treatment (see list).
  • Avoid taking medication such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Aleve to minimize bruising 2 weeks before treatment.
  • Remove all topical products such as lotions and make-up before treatment.

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE TREATMENT DAY?

Protective eye goggles will be used during the actual treatment.  Gel will be applied to the laser treatment area. Pulses of light will be given along the course of the vessels. The sensation is similar to that of a rubber band snapping. Generally, no anesthesia is required. Typical tissue response to the laser is a red color along the course of the vein similar to a “cat scratch”.  The red color typically resolves in 24 hours or less.  Bruising may last up to 1 to 2 weeks.  Small vessels typically on the face may disappear immediately whereas the larger leg vessels may take up to 4 to 6 weeks to disappear.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE AFTER TREATMENT?

  • Avoid exposure to intense light/sun and avoid sun-tanning product for 2 weeks.
  • Avoid Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Aleve for at least 1 week.
  • Use 30 SPF sun block if sun exposure is unavoidable.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise/activities and hot tubs for at least 48 hours after treatment to allow vessels to remain closed.
  • For leg veins, the short-term use of support hose may be recommended to optimize results.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS AND RISKS?

Existing laser research and clinical evidence indicate that laser surgery is safe; however, there is no guarantee that your condition can be treated completely by laser.  Although side effects from this procedure are minimal, a small risk of the following can occur:

  • Skin lightening (hypopigmentation)
  • Swelling
  • Skin darkening (hyperpigmentation)
  • Allergic reaction to ointment or other contactant
  • Infection
  • Activation of cold sores (herpes simplex)
  • Skin texture change
  • Incomplete removal of lesion
  • Scarring (rare, possibly permanent)
  • Itching (hive-like response lasting 2-3 hours to 2-3 days)
  • Burns, blisters, scabbing, crusting
  • Purpura (red-purple discoloration, bruising)

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