Research a cosmetic surgery procedure
Spider veins and varicose veins are not considered life-threatening conditions and do not require treatment unless they cause pain or simply are not aesthetically pleasing. Surgery to treat these unwanted veins is moderately painful and has a slightly longer recovery period than vascular laser. It also requires general anesthesia and may cause scarring. Vascular laser treatments however, are minimally invasive and are performed in a physician's office or clinic. Treatment can provide a reduced chance of developing stasis ulcers, relief from discomfort or pain, more efficient blood circulation, and an improved body image.
How is this procedure performed?
"Vascular laser treatments
are minimally invasive and are performed
in a physician's office or clinic."
There are two types of vascular laser treatments: Simple laser treatment and endovenous laser ablation.
Simple Laser Treatment: More often used for spider veins and small varicose veins that are just below the skin's surface. If there is poor circulation to these veins from a larger vein, the larger vein must first be treated with endovenous laser, radiofrequency treatment or sclerotherapy. The laser has a specialized chilled hand piece which acts to cool the surface of the skin while the beam from the laser penetrates the skin. Pulses of light energy are then administered in a sequential fashion which distributes heat to the veins and causes them to disappear usually within a few treatments.
Endovenous Laser Ablation: Used for larger varicose veins. A laser fiber is passed through a catheter into the vein that is causing the bulging varicose veins. Vein walls are damaged by thermal energy from the laser which causes it to collapse and eventually disappear. These veins are superficial and not necessary for transferring blood to the heart. Healthy veins are not touched by the laser and will continue to transport blood away from the legs efficiently.
Many people require one or more laser treatment sessions to reduce the appearance of unsightly venous conditions. Three to four treatment sessions are common for spider veins, although vascular birthmarks may require as many as six treatments for optimal reduction. These treatments are usually scheduled several weeks apart and last about an hour each.
Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins
Although many people use the words “spider veins” and “varicose veins” interchangeably, these are actually two different types of vascular conditions.
Spider Veins: Tiny veins that frequently tend to appear on the lower extremities, often between the ankles and knees. As the name implies, spider veins are discolored areas with dark centers and long, crooked extensions that radiate outward. They may range in size from small pinpoints to fist-size or larger. In addition to the lower extremities, spider veins may also appear on the upper body and on the face. These sunburst varicosities can form over the surface of the nose and cheeks, creating a flushed appearance. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are not painful.
Varicose Veins: A type of vascular condition that causes one or more of the larger, deeper veins to bulge and protrude. They may also cause pain or a throbbing sensation.
What are the risks of having vascular laser?
Side effects from vascular laser surgery are rare, although there are risks involved with most medical and cosmetic procedures. During the procedure, you may experience some mild pain and discomfort. Temporary bruising is among the most common risk factors during the recovery phase, although this generally fades within a week. Permanent alterations in pigmentation may also occur, potentially causing darker or lighter areas of skin. Vascular laser can permanently remove existing spider veins, but it will not keep new ones from forming.
How much does Vascular Laser cost?
The cost of vascular laser can vary, depending on your specific condition and requirements. Professional fees for this procedure in the United States averaged about $325 during 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This fee is for one session – keep in mind that most people require multiple laser sessions for optimal results. Before you schedule your procedure, ask for an inclusive list of costs you may incur. Medical insurance seldom covers laser surgery for aesthetic purposes.
Is Vascular Laser painful?
The laser procedure may cause a slight amount of discomfort, often described as a stinging sensation. A topical anesthetic applied shortly before treatment begins can help reduce the risk of discomfort. Usually only local anesthesia or a light sedative is needed for laser treatment.
How well does Vascular Laser work?
Simple laser treatment has become safe and effective over the past 20 years.
Endovenous laser treatment is about 94% effective.
If endovenous laser does not close the vein, a second treatment is necessary. Options include another laser treatment, radiofrequency treatment or sclerotherapy. Vein surgery is recommended in some cases.