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A little beam of light can make all the difference…
Spider veins are wavy, thin, reddish-purple veins that are visible on the legs. Often they are clustered on the thigh or below the knee.
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, affect as many as 80% of all women as they grow older, and a large percentage of men too. The cause is largely genetic, although other culprits include pregnancy, childbirth, use of birth-control pills, estrogen-replacement therapy, previous injury, and use of corticosteroids. Telangiectasias are not usually a medical problem, but they may make you reluctant to wear a bathing suit or a pair of shorts.
In the past, there was little you could do about spider veins. But now laser technology has revolutionized treatment so that many spider veins can be virtually erased. Leg telangiectasias are not varicose or larger deeper veins but small superficial surface veins that have become permanently dilated. Older treatments include electrodessication, which involves zapping the vein shut with electric current, but it can leave pitted and white scarring.
Another common treatment is sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the vein to make it collapse, and is a viable alternative for many patients, particularly with smaller veins. We use a state-of-the-art system that has been specifically designed to treat spider veins and other vascular lesions.
A laser produces a beam of highly concentrated light. Different types of lasers produce different colors of light. The color of light produced by a particular laser is the key to the laser’s effect on telangiectasias. Different colors of light are absorbed by specific colors or pigments in the skin; for example, hemoglobin, found in blood, absorbs yellow-green light. The laser’s light energy seals the vein shut, and the now-diminished telangiectasias is reabsorbed by the body.
Laser treatments for leg telangiectasias depend on the quantity, size, and depth of the veins. Most patients need between one and three 10-minute sessions. Sessions are usually spaced 4-6 weeks apart and are performed in our offices without the costs and risks of hospitalization or general anesthesia.
The laser treatment itself feels like numerous small snaps with a rubberband. Most patients do not require anesthesia during the procedure. Topical or local anesthesia is provided for those who do. The appearance of the treated area immediately after a laser session will vary from patient to patient depending on the extent of treatment. Immediate after-effects, if any, are minor. They may include redness, light crusting, tenderness, and rarely blistering, all of which heal in a short time.
We will be happy to tell you more about your treatment, its side effects, and what you can expect at the time of your consultation.