Small "Spider" veins or Telangiectasias as well as larger varicose veins result from a medical problem known as venous insufficiency. Approximately 25 million Americans suffer with venous insufficiency. Estimates show that in the US, 72% of women and 42% of men will experience varicose veins by the time they are in their 60s. Risk factors for venous disease include heredity, prolonged standing, pregnancy and age. Return of blood from the legs towards the heart is promoted by valves that come from the inner walls of the leg veins. (See figure) Over time, with "wear and tear" these valves can become damaged, or the veins can stretch with pregnancy, and the valves become incompetent. These incompetent valves now allow gravity to pull blood downwards to toward the feet. Over many years this backward flow of blood causes tissues in the leg to become unhealthy. This circulatory problem may cause patients to experience a spectrum of symptoms from tiny asymptomatic, but cosmetically unpleasant, "spider" veins to more severe venous disease, and serious consequences including pain, edema, dermatitis and ulceration of the legs.
Spider veins or Telangiectasias are small abnormal veins ranging from less than 1mm to several millimeters in diameter. These veins appear most often on the legs and face but can occur anywhere on the body. Although very small, these vessels can cause symptoms such as pain, burning, and swelling. Furthermore, the appearance of these veins can often have a negative impact on a person's life and self-image causing them to avoid situations where others may see their legs.
New laser technology has been shown to reduce the appearance of spider veins in a safe and effective way!
Laser therapy has been used in the medical arena since the 1960s. Advances in technology have given way to many different lasers. The laser uses a focused beam of light that has a specific target within the tissues. In the treatment of veins, the wavelength of light is attracted to the pigment in the blood and vessel wall heating it and causing it to be destroyed. Since the laser is so focused, surrounding skin and tissue are not harmed.
How do I know if I am a candidate for laser vein treatment?
When a patient has abnormal veins, it is important that they be evaluated to determine the severity of the disease. At Maryland Vein Professionals, our physicians can do this. If there are symptoms related to having abnormal veins such as pain, swelling, edema, dermatitis or discoloration of the skin, a thorough evaluation by ultrasound should be done. If there is evidence of saphenous vein reflux, this should be treated before the spider veins are addressed because the saphenous vein reflux is part of the underlying cause of the spider veins. For patients having superficial spider veins that are mainly a cosmetic issue, laser therapy has shown to be very effective. As can be seen in the following photographs, there is an obvious difference even after one treatment.
Most patients describe the laser treatment as a series of small hot pinpricks or rubber band snaps. There is a continuous stream of cold air blowing on the area during the treatment that is soothing and minimized any discomfort. The discomfort if any is very short-lived however; numbing gel can be applied if needed.
Depending on the size and number of veins, two to six treatments will be needed.
Veins can appear on the legs, face, nose and other areas. All areas can be treated safely. The area closest to the eyes should be avoided.
It is important to note that the laser works best on very small veins. If you have larger and bulging veins, you may need further evaluation to determine if there is deeper vein disease. If only the smaller superficial veins are treated without addressing deeper vein problems, symptoms may return.
Please visit our partner practices for more information about laser services:
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