Visible veins, such as spider veins and varicose veins, can be a source of discomfort and self-consciousness for many individuals. In the case of bulging varicose veins, they can actually impact our overall health. Although spider veins are often harmless physically and should not be painful, itchy or cause aching sensations, they can affect one's confidence in their appearance. Fortunately, modern medical advancements have provided us with innovative solutions to address both the medical and cosmetic concerns of varicose and spider veins. Laser spider vein removal, a 100% non-invasive vein removal treatment, has gained rapid popularity in our vein clinics for its effectiveness in removing visible spider veins on the legs. Let’s explore what laser vein treatment is, how it works, and its many benefits!
What Are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Before diving into what laser vein treatment is, it's essential to understand the two primary types of vein issues. Spider veins and varicose veins differ in more than name and appearance; one is cosmetic, and the other is a medical concern. These differences affect treatment types and insurance coverage.
Spider veins: These are tiny, dilated blood vessels that often appear near the surface of the skin. They are flat and typically resemble tree branches or spider webs, which is how they got their name. These veins can be red, blue, or purple and are commonly found on the legs and face. Though spider veins are usually harmless, they may appear as a symptom of vein disease beneath the surface of the skin, which may cause restless legs, pain, cramping and leg swelling. However, it’s important to note that the spider veins themselves are often just a cosmetic concern, although they can be a valuable signal of a greater medical issue.
Varicose veins: Larger, twisted, and bulging varicose veins are often blue or green in color and can be painful or cause discomfort in the legs. Varicose veins develop when valves in the veins become weak or damaged, allowing blood to pool. Vein walls stretch to accommodate the backward-flowing blood. This condition can lead to skin changes, aching, and throbbing around the affected area. Varicose veins are a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency, which is a progressive vein disease that worsens if left unchecked. In later stages of chronic venous insufficiency, ulcers and swelling/edema can form.
How Does A Laser Treat Visible Veins?
There are two types of laser vein treatment that we offer in our vein clinics — one for spider veins and another for varicose veins. The first option, excel V+ laser, targets the pigment in spider veins to safely remove them in a 100% non-invasive procedure. Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA for short) is a minimally invasive method of treating varicose veins under the surface of the skin.
Laser for spider veins: Our excel V+ lasers deliver penetrating pulses of light energy directly into spider veins on the skin’s surface. Using our guided lasers — which create a unique hot/cool sensation — we’re able to “zap” the vein closed and allow it to be reabsorbed by your body. The laser can treat many vein and vascular conditions on the surface of the skin. The laser uses different wavelengths — customized to your skin type and vein issues — to improve the look of your legs. The ideal candidate for laser spider vein removal has a fair-to-medium skin tone, as the laser can target melanin in those with deeper skin tones. Another approach for managing spider veins is sclerotherapy, an excellent, minimally invasive vein treatment option that will provide ideal results at no risk to melanin.
Laser for varicose veins: Under ultrasound guidance, our vein doctors insert a tiny fiber into an unhealthy varicose vein, then use a small laser beam to heat the problem area until the diseased vein valves close. This treatment is designed to help the deeper veins in your legs promote healthier blood flow, rerouting blood from damaged veins to stronger veins gently and efficiently.
Both treatment approaches are designed to provide noticeable improvement without the pain or hassle of an invasive hospital procedure. These treatments have gained popularity for their great results achieved with very minimal discomfort, quick recovery times, and high success rates.
What to Expect from Laser Vein Treatment
Most patients seeking laser vein treatment want spider veins removed. Because spider veins are a surface-level concern, treatment is 100% non-invasive and does not require any overnight hospital stays or lengthy recovery times.
The process is rather straightforward:
Consultation: Before undergoing laser vein treatment, you'll have a free consultation with a board-certified vein specialist in a vein clinic near you. During this consultation, your vein doctor will assess your vein issues and medical history, and discuss the treatment in detail. They may also perform a duplex ultrasound to map the affected veins if there are concerns about the presence of varicose veins beneath the skin. If you have spider veins but also cramp at night, experience itching skin on your legs, and have swollen feet, ankles, or calves, you may have a greater issue that should be treated appropriately.
Scheduling treatment: Our patient care team will book your appointment to have your spider veins removed. At this time, we’ll discuss pricing plans and pre-treatment best practices (stay hydrated, have a snack, and wear comfortable/loose-fitting clothing, etc.).
Treatment day: Treatment takes approximately 30 minutes to complete in our vein clinic, depending on the surface area being treated, the darkness of the spider veins’ pigment, and the location of the veins. Most patients describe the laser treatment as feeling like a small rubber band snapping against the skin. Applying a topical numbing cream can alleviate any minor discomfort from the laser.
Recovery: Laser vein treatment is done right in our clinics, and you can return to your regular activities shortly after your appointment. Your vein specialist may recommend you wear compression stockings for 2 weeks after spider vein treatment to aid in healing and reduce any potential swelling. For best results, always heed any advice and aftercare instructions from your vein doctor.
The Best Time of Year for Laser Vein Removal
Being mindful during the period after your laser vein treatment is crucial for yielding the best possible results. Our vein specialists recommend avoiding UV exposure (whether in sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light) due to increased skin sensitivity after laser treatments and a greater chance of hyperpigmentation. This means covering up with longer pants or skirts and using sunscreen when your legs are bare. (Compression socks will safeguard you from UV exposure as well as aid in preventing swelling, so keep them rolled up during the day!). Additionally, we advise avoiding air travel for two weeks after laser vein treatment.
Because of all this, we recommend starting your laser spider vein removal in fall, winter, or spring, when clothing choices tend to be longer and direct exposure to UV is less likely. It’s best to get a leg up on any summertime plans, including vacations and flying, by scheduling your laser spider vein removal to be complete before your fun in the sun.
Benefits of Laser Vein Treatment
Laser vein removal is among the most popular vein treatments, and it’s no wonder why!
Non-invasive: One of the significant advantages of laser vein treatment is its non-invasive nature. It doesn't require any incisions, large or small, nor the use of anesthesia, leading to shorter recovery times and no fear of scarring.
High success rate: Laser vein treatment is highly effective in treating spider veins. The number of appointments needed for full results varies from patient to patient due to factors such as darkness of vein pigment and how much skin is affected, but typically patients see full results within an average of two to four sessions. Treated veins do not come back — you may develop new spider veins on other parts of the body, but veins that have been treated cannot reappear. (Our vein specialists can offer advice on how to avoid the appearance of new spider veins, too!)
Quick recovery: Patients are advised to limit sun exposure and wear compression stockings for 2 weeks to maximize results. However, individuals can resume their daily activities immediately after their treatment.
Improved appearance: Laser vein treatment can significantly improve the appearance of spider veins, boosting the patient's confidence and self-esteem.
Symptom relief: For those experiencing discomfort or pain due to varicose veins, laser vein treatments like endovenous laser ablation can provide relief by closing off problematic veins and redirecting blood flow to healthier ones.
Customized treatment: Laser vein treatment can be done at different strengths and laser wavelengths depending on each patient's specific needs, skin tone, and area of concern. This ensures precise targeting of problematic veins while minimizing any risk of side effects.
The Bottom Line
Laser vein treatment has revolutionized the way we address vein issues, both cosmetic and medical, offering safe, FDA-approved, effective, minimally invasive or 100% non-invasive solutions. Whether you're dealing with bothersome spider veins or painful varicose veins, consulting with a board-certified vein specialist about laser vein treatment may be an excellent option to consider. With high success rates, quick recovery, cosmetic improvement, and increased quality of life, this modern medical treatment can help you regain confidence in your appearance and relieve any discomfort associated with vein issues. If you're tired of living with unsightly or painful veins, laser vein treatment may be the answer you've been looking for.
We offer free vein evaluations in all of our New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona vein clinics, and our team of vein specialists are happy to discuss your options for laser vein removal. Our patient care team is available at 866-353-6109 to schedule you in for your first appointment! We look forward to seeing you soon.
Trusted insight from the nationally accredited, board-certified vein doctors at Metro Vein Centers.