It is estimated that over 50 million Americans are bothered by the appearance of veins on their thighs, calves, and ankles. These veins can either be small, thin capillaries (spider veins) or larger veins that we call reticular veins. The very largest veins are called varicose veins. There are many factors that contribute to the development of these unsightly veins including pregnancy, weight gain, prolonged standing, and even genetics
Spider veins form when excess blood backs up in the blood stream. The body releases this pressure by developing new veins. Not only are spider veins unsightly, but they can also cause aching, swelling, burning, and night cramps in the legs. Reticular veins are those blue veins that lie well below the skin’s surface and are larger than the spider veins. They often are the source of spider veins and must also be removed in order to achieve a long-term result in your treatment. Finally, varicose veins are quite large, and tend to bulge with a rope-like texture on the skin’s surface. They are likely to cause pain and be related to more serious vein disorders. The treatment of these varicose veins is usually outside the realm of treatments available at our office and are best treated by a vascular surgeon.
The best technique used to treat spider and reticular veins involves laser treatments. we use the Gemini laser. This laser has the unique quality of being both effective and relatively pain-free.
Unlike prior lasers, we can treat any skin type and even tanned skin. Most treatments last only 15 minutes. During your initial consultation, we will be able to estimate the cost of your treatments and tailor the treatments to your needs. As always, consultations free.
Laser Vein Therapy Laser vein removal is surprisingly easy, fast, and effective. The laser light achieves vein removal by destroying the vein without burning the skin above. The laser will shoot a concentrated beam of light that passes through your surface skin and is preferentially absorbed by the hemoglobin in the vein. When the light is absorbed, it is converted to heat, a process that is similar to what happens inside a car that has been sitting in the sun. As the sun shines light into the car, the light is absorbed by the seats, wheel, and dashboard. It is then converted to heat, making them hot to the touch. The same happens to the vein. As the vein is gently heated (a process that occurs in 50 milliseconds or 1/20th of a second), the walls of the vein collapse and thus blood flow is stopped. Over a period of three to four weeks, the vein is reabsorbed by the body and disappears.
The use of a laser for vein removal requires knowledge and expertise. Our staff is trained to use the best laser and the proper settings for each size vein. During your treatment, you will feel a slight tingling sensation as the laser fires. The skin above the veins will have a reddish, cat-scratch appearance. This generally disappears over the next two days. Sometimes we apply a local anesthetic cream over the proposed treatment area if you find the sensation is uncomfortable. You can expect to return immediately to your normal daily activities, although we do recommend elevation of the treated areas that day to enhance the treatment’s success.
The risks associated with laser vein therapy are minimal and similar to the risks of laser hair removal. Your eyes will be shielded during the treatments. There is a small risk of pigment changes, which can be reduced by avoiding prolonged sun exposure during the treatments. Our physicians and aestheticians will fully inform you of the risks associated with laser vein therapy and answer any questions during your initial consultation. Finally, because we use state-of-the-art cooling systems, you will find your treatments low risk and relatively pain-free.
Are these vein treatments permanent? The removal of spider and reticular leg veins is not an exact science. Most patients achieve a significant reduction in the appearance of their veins and are very satisfied with the treatments. Of course, aging begins the moment the treatment ends. In addition, other factors such as standing and genetics continue. We recommend a single yearly treatment to “clean up” any new veins that appear.
Are the treatments painful? Most patients describe a tingling sensation during the brief time the laser is actually firing. However, because we offer cooling systems and topical anesthetic cream, our patients are quite comfortable during their treatments.
Are the treatments safe? As in laser hair removal, there are a few uncommon risks associated with both laser and injection vein therapy. These include pigment changes and blistering. However, because our physicians and aestheticians are specially trained in the use of the lasers, the occurrence of these events is rare. Additionally, your eyes will be shielded during all treatments.
How long do the treatments take and how many treatments will I need? Each treatment session generally lasts fifteen minutes. We can treat a significant number of veins during that session. Typically, you can expect to need two to three sessions to achieve the appearance you desire. Of course, you can stop treatments at any time or continue with additional treatments should you desire.
How much do the treatments cost? Our fees are for each treatment session and are very competitive. During your initial consultation, which is always free at Samuel K.Gooldy, MD.PC, we will estimate the number of treatment sessions you will need in order to give you an idea of cost.