Laser Light Therapy
In addition to treating varicose veins and spider veins, laser therapy is also used for many cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal and treatment of acne, acne scars, sun-damaged pigmentation, precancerous lesions, rosacea and other skin conditions. Although sclerotherapy is generally considered the gold standard in the treatment of leg spider veins and reticular veins, laser and light therapy may be useful in some cases. Laser/light therapy is widely considered the treatment of choice for facial veins.
There are a variety of laser and light devices that are being used to treat spider veins or small reticular veins. The treatment involves delivering pulses of light over the targeted vein. When treating spider veins, the light is used to heat the blood inside the vein, causing injury to the vein wall. The goal is to allow the heat emitted from the light to injure the damaged vein such it shrinks and eventually dissolves over a period of a couple of weeks.
Patients should always wear protective goggles during treatment with laser/light therapy to prevent injury to the eyes. Patients might feel a stinging sensation as the laser light pulses are delivered. Technicians will utilize a cooling agent or other cooling techniques in order to make the therapeutic procedure more comfortable and safe. Sometimes a topical anesthestic can be applied prior to exposure to the laser emissions in order to reduce discomfort.
Recovery from laser/light therapy is usually very easy and uneventful. Bruising can occur, particularly with certain lasers. The skin may be red for several days. Other reactions are uncommon. The spider veins that are treated by laser or light therapy will naturally be reabsorbed by the surrounding tissue within a few weeks. Usually several sessions of laser/light therapy are required to achieve the best results. Each therapy session takes less about 15-30 to complete, depending on the size of the treated area and the number of spider veins that need to be treated. Repeat sessions of laser and light therapy are usually scheduled at least 4 to 6 weeks apart.
Consult a doctor for the best treatment options if you want to remove varicose veins, spider veins or reticular veins.
Reviewed by Steven E. Zimmet, MD, RVT, FACPh
Editor of Phlebology
President, Zimmet Vein & Dermatology
Past-President, American College of Phlebology