Removing Spider Veins and Broken Capillaries
As we age, many of us – up to 60% by some estimates – develop unwanted blue or red spider veins and broken capillaries. These can occur anywhere on the body, but are most common on the legs and face. They are formed by the dilation of a small group of blood vessels located close to the surface of the skin. The good news? These unsightly and annoying blemishes can now be safely and easily removed with a simple 30 minute laser treatment!
Lasers remove spider veins and broken capillaries by heating the blood vessels until they coagulate and collapse – which is possible because the laser selectively targets hemoglobin in the blood, which is not present in the surrounding tissue. This selective heating means that we can safely destroy the spider veins and broken capillaries without harming the surrounding skin.
Over a few weeks – 8-12 to be specific – the treated blood vessels will gradually disappear as they are reabsorbed by the body. The procedure is virtually painless, non-invasive, and removes unsightly spider veins in as few as 2-3 treatments!
Compared to other methods of vein removal the major advantages of laser vein removal are:
- Quick, gentle vein removal that has long lasting results
- Treats the smallest of blood vessels
- Less bruising and swelling that sclerotherapy or surgery
- Minimal to no downtime after treatments
- Works on any area of the body
- No needles, and no bandaging is required
Want to learn more? Read our FAQ below – or come in to RESTOR for a complimentary consult!
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people have questions about laser treatments for veins. Read below to find our answers to the most frequently asked questions about vein treatments.
At RESTOR Medical Spa we use a state-of-the-art 1064nm Nd:YAG laser – the most effective type of laser used to remove unwanted veins and hair.
Patients can expect to feel like they have a sunburn for a few hours after the treatment, and can return to their normal activities in 24 hours. You may experience mild swelling and possibly some bruising that will last about 2 weeks. Avoiding the sun is very important after a laser treatment to remove spider veins – as exposure to the sun can result in darkening of the skin in the area treated. We recommend keeping the area covered for several weeks – or wearing a high-SPF zinc or titanium-based sunscreen.
The veins will not disappear immediately. They will initially darken as the collapse, and then fade slowly over several weeks as they are gradually resorbed by the body. Do not expect to see your final results for 8-12 weeks after your treatments are finished.
Our laser can remove unsightly veins from all parts of the body. Small, facial veins can be treated quickly without bruising or complications. Spider veins and large blue leg veins can also be treated with excellent results. Knotty varicose veins that rise off the surface of the skin can not be treated with our laser therapy.
How can you tell the difference? Spider veins and broken capillaries lay flat against the skin – and do not “bulge out” from the skin. If you can feel the vein with your fingers when your eyes are closed, then that vessel is probably too large for a laser procedure to be effective – and may require sclerotherapy injections or surgery to remove. Also - vessels that are so small that they are difficult to see with the naked eye may not be as easily treated.
During your consultation, a careful evaluation will be performed to determine which blood vessels can be treated and the best course of treatment.
Most people say the laser pulse feels like a small rubber band snapping against your skin. Typically our patients do not require medication or an anesthetic; however some opt to use a topical anesthetic. Discomfort is reduced by application of the cooling spray on the skin during the treatment. Additionally, the laser settings can be adjusted by your provider if they are causing too much discomfort.
Often people describe their first laser treatment as being the most uncomfortable. This is because during each treatment a percentage of blood vessels removed moved, leading to less energy being absorbed into the skin in subsequent sessions.
Laser vein removal is an effective and gentle way to remove undesired veins from almost any area of the body! The most common areas that are treated are veins on the face (especially on the cheeks and around the nose), and on the upper or lower legs. Lighter colored skin responds the best to laser energy – so for the best results, we suggest that you do not tan, use sunless tanning products, or expose the treatment area to the sun for the three weeks leading up to your laser vein treatment.
If you’ve recently tanned, you may require additional treatment sessions to achieve the optimal vein removal, and we may need to reschedule the treatment if you have had recent sun exposure.
After a laser vein treatment you will have short-term redness and irritation (swelling) of the treated area that looks almost like a “cat scratch” on the skin. This usually lasts a couple hours but occasionally lasts for a few days.
Some people experience mild pigmentation changes after treatment, but these are temporary. Other patients suffer from slight swelling, bruising, or redness in the treated areas, but again, this is temporary. Normal physical activity can be resumed after 24 hours in most cases, but care should be taken to avoid sun exposure and to wear a sunblock of 30 SPF or higher.
Complications are very rare, but may include:
- Blistering or crusting over the treated area rarely occurs – but is treated with Neosporin and aloe vera ointment and usually heals within a week.
- Hypo- (lighter) or hyper-pigmentation (darker) in the treated area. Fortunately this occurs in less than 3% of treatments. This infrequently problem usually resolves after several months. You can lessen the risk of this by keeping the treated area out of the sun for several weeks before and after your treatment.
The veins that we remove during your treatment are gone forever – but you have small blood vessels over your entire body, flowing just below the skin. The same processes that created the spider veins in the first place are still occurring under the skin, and will result in the formation of new broken capillaries and spider veins over time. This is especially true if there is a family history of spider or varicose veins, or if you become pregnant or take oral contraceptives.
We recommend a touch-up treatments every 1-2 years to address any new veins that appear.
The number of treatments needed depends on how many veins you have, the size and resilience of the veins, and how well your body responds to the laser treatment. Most people will have 70%-90% improvement after completing a course of treatments.
Generally speaking, leg veins need 3-4 treatments, while facial veins can typically be treated with 1-2 sessions. Treatments can be repeated at 6 - 8 week intervals to allow for complete healing, and you may have as many laser treatments as you wish to achieve your desired results.
Regrowth of tiny blood vessels is very unpredictable. Unfortunately, you cannot stop the process of aging that sometimes creates new blood vessel blemishes. You can however, protect your skin from further sun damage that can cause some blood vessels to appear by wearing sunblock spf 45 – 60 and protective clothing.
We recommend support stockings (graded compression stockings) for the legs to reduce the growth of large varicose veins, but it doesn’t usually curb the growth of the smallest blood vessels (less than 3mm) on the legs.
For optimal results, shave on the day before treatment or on the morning before treatment. Hair is often pigmented and can absorb laser energy that is meant for the vein treatment. This wastes some of the laser energy and you may not get the full laser treatment that you want on the unwanted vein.
Avoid tanning. Lasers work best on lighter colored skin. While you can use a laser on tanned skin, the energy has to be reduced to avoid burns, so if you want to get the most bang for your buck, avoid tanning (artificial or real) for 2 weeks prior to your laser vein treatment session. Tanning lotions and creams artificially color your skin and this has the same effects with the laser as does a real tan.
Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®) and CoolSculpting® are both relatively non-invasive treatments for fat reduction that work very well to reduce stubborn fat deposits. Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®) uses deoxycholic acid injections to achieve results, while CoolSculpting® uses cryolipolisis technology to “freeze” and destroy fat cells. As a general rule, Deoxycholic Acid is better for small areas of fat, while CoolSculpting® works better on larger areas. If the fat you want to remove is larger than two “handfuls” then CoolSculpting® or liposuction will likely work better than Deoxycholic Acid.
Both procedures have pros and cons. Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®) treatment requires 2-4 sessions where liposuction typically only requires 1 (although the downtime after a surgical procedure is longer and a non-invasive one). Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®) treatment does not leave any scars as it is injected through a very small syringe, and is considered non-invasive where liposuction is a surgical procedure. Deoxycholic Acid treatments are generally cheaper, but can only give good results for small, isolated areas of fat. If your problem area is larger than your open hand – then liposuction may be a better option for you. Both procedures work best on people who are at a healthy weight – and only wish to remove a small to moderate amount of fat for contouring purposes – neither should be thought of as a weight loss tool. If you are unsure of which one to pick – come in to RESTOR for a complimentary consultation!
While there are many practices that will do Deoxycholic Acid (Kybella®) injections over an area that has had previous Liposuction, and RESTOR we do not do this procedure on areas that have had any previous surgery.
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