Laser Vein Treatment
Visible leg veins are not something just to be self-conscious about. Left untreated they can increase in size or cause surrounding veins to be affected. In time, this can lead to an increased amount of swelling and discomfort and can put you at a greater risk for blood clots or open sores on your legs. Fortunately, early treatment with lasers can stop the progression and obliterate or fade spider veins.
Why do we get visible leg veins?
Nearly all visible veins in the legs are a type of varicose veins and are classified by their size. Large varicose veins and small “spider” veins are caused by the same mechanism. They develop when small, one-way valves inside the veins quit functioning. In healthy veins, these valves aid in circulation by making sure that blood can only move in the correct direction. When these valves stop working, blood flows backward and pools in the vein. This pooling distends the vein, weakens the walls, and can cause them to become more superficial and visible.
While anyone can develop visible leg veins, some people may have a higher risk. Standing or sitting for long periods of time, pregnancy, frequent and prolonged sun exposure, injury, hormones, and advanced age are all risk factors for developing visible leg veins. They can also have a genetic cause and can run in families.
How are Leg Veins treated?
The treatment for visible leg veins depends on the size of the vein and the depth of the vein. Large varicose veins require further investigation with ultrasound to assess the health of the non visible veins in the leg. Treatment of large varicose veins is usually surgical and can be assisted with lasers.
Smaller varicose veins “Spider Veins” are perfect for non-invasive laser treatment. A focused laser pulse can be directed at the vein walls at different intervals along the vein pathway. This essentially spot-welds the vein walls together, eliminates the pooling blood and resolves the blue/purple discoloration.
Medium-sized veins, veins that are a little deeper, and veins that don’t respond to laser can be treated with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure where a chemical is carefully injected into the vein itself, which irritates the vein wall and causes it to collapse so blood can’t flow through it anymore.
Both laser therapy and sclerotherapy are fantastic treatments for small to medium sized leg veins. Although some spider veins disappear immediately during treatment, some take 3 to 6 weeks. To get the best results, you may need 2 or 3 treatments.