Laser Vein Treatments
Diminishing Unsightly ‘Spider Veins’
Millions of women are bothered by spider veins – those small yet unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that most commonly appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. In fact, it’s estimated that at least half of the adult female population is plagued with this common cosmetic problem.
Today, many plastic surgeons are treating spider veins with laser technology. In this rather simple procedure, a highly precise device is used to emit laser energy, selectively targeting spider veins causing them to shrink and fade. The surrounding tissues are not harmed, and for most patients this procedure can also remedy the frustrating symptoms associated with spider veins, including aching, burning, swelling and night cramps.
Patients who are exploring their options for vein therapy enjoy the attentive treatment and personalized, accurate results offered by Great Lakes Plastic & Hand Surgery. Find out if this procedure is right for you when you request a consultation online or contact Dr. Scott Holley and Dr. Raghu Elluru by phone (269) 329-2900 (Kalamazoo/Portage) or (269) 979-0900 (Battle Creek).
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins – known in the medical world as telangiectasias or sunburst varicosities – are small, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. Although these super-fine veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it.
A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity, pregnancy and other events that cause hormonal shifts, weight gain, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, and the use of certain medications.
Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns. They may appear in a true spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point; they may be arborizing and will resemble tiny branch-like shapes; or they may be simple and linear and appear as thin separate lines. Linear spider veins are commonly seen on the inner knee, whereas the arborizing pattern often appears on the outer thigh in a sunburst or cartwheel distribution.
The Best Candidates for Laser Vein Therapy
Women of any age may be good candidates for a laser vein treatment, but most fall in the 30-to-60 age category. In some women, spider veins may become noticeable very early on – in the teen years. For others, the veins may not become obvious until they reach their 40s. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may be advised to postpone this treatment. In most cases, spider veins that surface during pregnancy will disappear on their own within three months after the baby is born.
Spider veins in men aren’t nearly as common as they are in women. Men who do have spider veins often don’t consider them to be a cosmetic problem because the veins are usually concealed by hair growth on the leg. However, a laser vein treatment is just as effective for men who seek treatment.
What to Expect From Your Laser Vein Treatment
Kalamazoo laser vein treatments can enhance your appearance and your self confidence, but it’s unrealistic to believe that every affected vein will disappear completely as a result of treatment. For most patients, the veins will fade significantly with just one treatment, but in some cases a series of treatments may be necessary to ensure that the problem veins fade as fully as possible.
You should also be aware that the procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does nothing to permanently alter the venous system or prevent new veins from surfacing in the future. Before you decide to have a laser vein treatment, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your doctor.
What are the possible side effects?
Although many patients report few if any side effects, those most commonly noticed are slight reddening and local swelling of the skin. These effects typically last for less than 24 hours. Some patients may experience bruising and, in rare instances, blistering may occur. Consult with your medical professional for complete information on the benefits and risks of treatment.
When will I see results?
Most patients find that the majority of the treated veins have shown significant improvement within two to six weeks of treatment. However, your final results may not be apparent for several months. Although laser vein treatments will obliterate the noticeable veins for good, it’s important to remember that treatment will not prevent new spider veins from emerging in the future. As time passes, you may find that you need “touch-ups” or full treatments for new veins that surface. But even if you choose not to have further laser vein treatments, your legs will look better than if you never had treatment at all.
Your New Look
Most patients are pleased with the difference their laser vein therapy achieves. The skin of your legs will appear younger, clearer, and more healthy-looking. If you’ve been wearing long skirts and slacks to hide your spider veins, you’ll now be able to broaden your fashion horizons. Often, patients are surprised at the dramatic difference in appearance between a treated leg and an untreated one.