Telangiectasia is the official name for the threadlike veins that appear just under the surface of the skin. Also called spider veins because they resemble spider webs or thread veins because they are thin and stringy, these veins are dilated veins that carry blood. They are usually purple, red, or blue in color and are caused by pressure on the veins. Spider veins can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly seen on the ankles, calves, buttocks, and thighs. If you have these unsightly veins and would like to get rid of them, you may consider laser spider vein treatment. Spider veins do not propose a major health risk, but for some people, they can become swollen and ache. If there is a more serious underlying cause of spider veins, it is important to have them treated before they become more severe.
What is Laser Spider Vein Treatment?
Laser spider vein treatment is a non-invasive medical treatment used to remove spider veins. The laser is focused at the venous wall and the laser is calibrated to target the pigment in the blood. It doesn’t affect the surface of the skin. The pigment in the blood absorbs the light as heat and is coagulated causing the vein to collapse and seal closed. The blood that was flowing through the damaged vein will naturally be diverted to healthy veins deeper in the leg.
The laser we most commonly use is the Nd:YAG laser system. Our trained professionals can calibrate the laser so each spider vein gets only the amount of heat it needs and no surrounding tissue is affected. For women, the face, legs, upper body and thighs are the most common areas treated. For men, the upper body and face are the most common areas treated.
Who is a Candidate for Laser Spider Vein Treatment?
If you want to get rid of spider veins, you may be a good candidate for laser treatment. When you have a consultation with our vein specialist your veins will be examined. This may involve looking at the veins while you are standing and lying down. We will look for any accompanying symptoms such as ulcers, itching, swelling, and redness around the affected veins. We may perform a Doppler ultrasound test to see if there are any deeper veins that are insufficiently working and may be the cause of spider veins and map your superficial veins. If you have any other venous problems, the deeper veins will need to be treated too.
Depending on the condition of any deeper vein problems, a different treatment may be recommended for those veins as spider vein laser therapy is not used for larger varicose veins. Once the tiny spider vein is destroyed, it will gradually disappear. The surrounding tissue will treat it as dead cells and carry it away. The vein may be gone completely in weeks.
If you are a good candidate for laser spider vein treatment, our specialist will see a full overview of your medical history including any recent surgeries as well as medications you are taking. You will be asked to stop taking aspirin or ibuprofen or an anticoagulant as well as herbal drugs and dietary supplements because they could increase bleeding. If you smoke, you will be asked to stop for at least two weeks before and after the treatment. Smoking inhibits the healing of tissue and can seriously complicate any medical procedure.
If your skin is tanned from the sun, a tanning bed, or a topical tanning product, you need to wait for about three weeks before your treatment to allow time for the tan to fade. We can do the procedure if you are tanned but you may need more treatments to get the desired results.
Before your appointment, you may be asked to shave the treatment area the day before or on the morning of the treatment. You may want to avoid shaving after the treatment for a few days. If your spider veins are on your face, you should not wear makeup to your appointment. We will clean your face completely because makeup can mask the veins that need to be treated and it can absorb some of the laser making it less effective. You can apply makeup after the treatment.
For some women, it is a good idea to avoid the menstrual period time for laser treatments because their skin seems to be more sensitive at that time. If you become pregnant, get a new tan, or start any new medications, you must tell our specialist so we can arrange your laser treatments to be the most effective.
It is the first consideration of our vein specialist that you feel comfortable and confident with your laser spider vein treatment from your first appointment, throughout the treatment and during any follow-up appointments. You may ask questions about any part of the procedure and diagnosis and learn exactly how your spider veins will be eliminated. If laser spider vein treatment is not an option for you, we will be happy to discuss other options.
What Causes Spider Veins?
There are several reasons people develop spider veins. They are more common in women than in men, but many men develop spider veins in their legs. The most common reason is heredity. If your parents or grandparents have spider veins or varicose veins, there is a very good chance you will too. Other causes are:
• Obesity – Being greatly overweight puts pressure on the veins and arteries in your legs. Pressure is one of the main causes of spider veins.
• Pregnancy – For the same reason as obesity, pregnancy can put pressure on the legs, which is one reason more women get spider veins than men. Hormonal changes may also increase the risk of developing spider veins such as oral birth control pills, menopause, hormone replacement therapy and puberty.
• Occupation – Some jobs require standing or sitting for hours. This makes the veins work much harder to keep the blood flowing against gravity back to the heart. Teachers, nurses, hair stylists, factory workers, and office personnel may develop spider veins.
• Exposure to the sun – Ultraviolet rays damage the skin and may make it vulnerable to developing spider veins.
• Injury – Any trauma to your body can cause spider veins.
• Excessive pressure – Girdles, constipation, or a tumor may put excessive pressure on your veins.
How Many Treatments are Needed?
The number of treatments you will need to get rid of your spider veins will range between two to six. In general, spider veins on the face take one to two treatments. The ones on the legs take two to six treatments. It depends on the size of the veins and the number of veins being removed. The treatments are done weeks apart. In the interim, your body can heal and the treated vein has time to be absorbed by the surrounding tissue. If you have deeper vein problems, you may need further treatment.
Nothing can cure spider veins, but the treated veins will not return. If your lifestyle predisposes you to develop spider veins, you may get more in which case you will need further treatment to get rid of them.
Spider Vein Treatment Aftercare
Laser spider vein treatment is non-invasive. This means there is little or no recovery time needed. Most people can go back to work or other normal daily activities immediately after the treatment. You may not see the final result for a few months, but you will see improvement almost immediately. The veins gradually fade from blue to red to pink and then gone.
We recommend you protect the treated area from sunlight and tanning beds. If you have any discomfort, you can take any over-the-counter pain medication. It may be more convenient to start the treatment when colder weather sets in since it may take several months for you to get the clear legs you desire. By the time the warm weather starts, you can wear shorts, swimsuits, and other summer clothing without the presence of veins on your legs.
The Advantages of Laser Spider Vein Treatment
There are other treatments for spider veins. The most conservative is compression stockings. These will not remove the veins but they may reduce swelling, redness and help prevent any new spider veins from developing. They may also improve the circulation in your legs. You can buy compression stockings in a drug store in several colors and compression strengths. Before making a purchase, you should have your spider veins checked by our specialist to see if compression stockings are a good option for you. Otherwise, you may be doing more harm than good.
Regular exercise and maintaining the proper weight are two more ways to help prevent spider veins from developing. Walking for at least 20 minutes a day will help strengthen your leg muscles, which in turn will improve the circulation in your legs.
If you stand for hours, take a few minutes throughout the day to sit and raise your feet above your heart. If you sit for hours, get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. These small changes in your lifestyle may help you avoid developing any new spider veins once yours have been removed.
Laser spider vein treatment is suitable for treating the face. Along with treating spider veins, it may improve facial skin. Some people may have large broken capillaries on the cheeks or nose or small spider veins on other parts of the face. Laser treatments will remove the veins and improve the appearance of the whole face. It may create a uniform skin color and smoother skin texture.
Why Remove Spider Veins?
If you are considering laser spider vein removal, you have already decided that you want to get rid of the veins. When you talk to our vein specialist you can learn about realistic expectations. You may want to consider the following if you are thinking about laser treatment:
• The results are long-term
• The treatment is quick and gentle
• It is effective on any skin tone anywhere on the body
• It can be done in combination with other treatments such as sclerotherapy
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
If you have uncomfortable spider veins on your legs, face or anywhere else on your body, we may be able to help. To learn more about spider vein treatment, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with Blair Med Spa. At our convenient location in Houston, your veins can be examined and your wishes considered so you can be free of the pesky veins and have smooth legs again. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!