While more than 80 million Americans suffer from spider veins, the American College of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says that more tahn 50% of women over the age of 21 have spider veins.
It’s simpler than you think to remove those unsightly spider veins and broken capillaries. With advanced lasers, spider vein removal treatments can give you vein-free skin, quickly and comfortably!
Watch the video : What is laser spider vein removal?
The laser treatments are remarkably comfortable. For facial veins, patients report barely feeling anything at all to a prickly or slight stinging sensation. For leg veins the sensation will vary from a slight tingling to a stinging sensation that lasts for a split second depending on how large and how deep the vein is.
What are Spider Veins
Spider veins are telangiectasia, which are caused by damaged tiny superficial blood vessels in the skin. They appear as thin (1mm to 2mm in diameter) purple, red, or blue lines that are most commonly found on the face and legs, but they can arise anywhere. On the face they are typically found on the cheeks and around the nose.
After the age of fifty, spider veins become more prevalent and frequently run in families. After the age of 50, venous varicosities affects one in every two people. Pregnancy, obesity, leg injuries, extended standing, and hormone therapy all can increase the chances of developing spider veins..
Spider veins can be unpleasant but rarely cause health problems. For the most part they are a cosmetic annoyance and laser treatments are designed to eliminate them.
Women with lighter skin tones seek treatment more frequently for spider veins because the vessels are more obvious due to the contrast between their red color and the skin.
Lasers used in Spider Vein Removal
For the treatment of spider veins, a variety of lasers are available, each with its own set of benefits, limitations, and uses. While all of these lasers can be used to treat spider veins, the artistry comes in when the laser specialist knows which laser is best for that particular vein.
Knowing which laser to use for which vein greatly reduces the risk of side effects and also minimizes any discomfort during the treatment.
A topical numbing cream is applied prior to treatment to further minimize any discomfort. Most patients report that they can’t feel the treatment at all.
Pulsed Dye Laser – V Beam
Pulsed dye lasers with 595nm wavelengths and pulse durations of 40ms have been shown to be effective in the treatment of spider veins. Modern pulsed dye lasers use pulses that are shorter than the relaxation duration of tiny vessels (1ms) and feature an integrated cooling system.
The cooling spray protects the skin’s surface from unintentional thermal injury and decreases any discomfort during treatment. Although pulsed dye lasers have demonstrated good clearance with small-diameter spider veins, their performance with larger caliber vessels has been less promising.
Neodymium YAG Laser – Nd:YAG
Because of the longer wavelength of 1064nm, Nd:YAG lasers are ideal for larger veins. They are considered one of the most effective lasers in spider vein treatment.
Nd:YAG lasers are known for having a little more sting than the other lasers. They can also produce hyperpigmentation if used incorrectly. As with any laser treatment it is important to find a physician that has many years of experience with lasers.
Potassium-Titanyl-Phosphate – KTP Laser
By passing the light via a KTP crystal, potassium-titanyl-phosphate (KTP) lasers double the frequency of Nd:YAG lasers. The resulting light has a wavelength of 532nm to 1064nm.
Because of their greater frequency, KTP lasers are perfect for removing spider veins on patients with darker skin.
KTP lasers are most commonly used for treating spider veins on the face as there are other lasers that are more effective for veins on the legs.
Facial Spider Vein Removal
Treating vascular skin lesions such as spider veins and broken capillaries with lasers is surprisingly quick, comfortable and effective.
The laser energy targets the hemoglobin in red blood cells, vaporizing the blood and instantly collapsing and destroying the unwanted vein. Over the course of a few weeks, your body simply dissolves any remaining fragments of the destroyed veins, resulting in beautiful, spider vein-free skin.
Easily targeted, visible spider veins and broken capillaries are usually completely eliminated with only a couple of laser treatments, leaving your skin with no evidence that they were ever there.
After the Treatment
Occasionally, facial veins may turn slightly purple for a few days before completely disappearing.
In the case of larger, more prominent spider veins, a tiny indentation may appear where the vein collapsed, though this is rare. With time, skin usually fills in this indentation with beautiful new tissue.
Multiple Treatments May be Needed
Some more complex and multi-layered facial vascular conditions, (such as rosacea and matted broken capillaries), are also significantly improved with one spider vein removal treatment.
However, more complex broken capillaries and spider veins often require 2-4 follow-up treatments in order to dramatically reduce or completely eliminate them.
What our incredible patients say about their laser spider vein removal experience.
What our incredible patients say about their laser spider vein removal experience.
Laser Spider Vein Removal for Leg Veins
Spider veins on the legs are extremely prevalent with 41% of women having them. There is no known cause for the appearance of these veins and they can be purely cosmetic or cause discomfort, burning, or itching.
Laser treatment is by far the best treatment to eliminate smaller spider veins on the legs. We have several different lasers available to choose from to remove these veins. The treatment is comfortable and you can watch as the laser traces the vein. With each pulse of the laser, the vein is vaporized.
Watch the video : An in-depth look at laser spider vein removal on the legs.
After the Treatment
With laser treatment, spider veins on the legs often completely disappear after 2-4 sessions, but usually leave a residual “reddish shadow” that typically requires 8-12 weeks to completely resolve (disappear).
A temporary “cat scratch” swelling may appear and persist for 2-3 days. In some cases, this area may become crusted and flake off.
In the case of larger, blue leg veins, some bruising may occur and occasionally, after a few days, scabs may appear at the surface – much like the healing of any deeper scratch or cut. These scabs will simply crust off, revealing beautiful new vein-free skin underneath. In the case of smaller spider veins and broken capillaries, the healing is much less visible.
All these conditions are normal inflammatory responses necessary for dissolving vein fragments and healing tissue surrounding the unwanted vein. Depending on the size and depth of the treated vein, as well as the responsiveness of the patient’s skin, the degree that a patient experiences these conditions varies. In all cases, experiencing these conditions is an indication of a successful spider vein removal.
Laser Spider Vein Removal FAQs
Q. How many laser treatments are needed to remove the veins on my face?
A. Broken capillaries and spider veins that have surfaced in your skin are very easy to remove with lasers. If the blood vessels are not layered, 1-2 laser treatments are usually sufficient. If the blood vessels are layered, more treatments may be needed to completely remove the veins.
Q. Can I exercise after the laser vein removal treatment?
A. We want to ensure the the veins that were shut down, remain shut down. So it is best that you do NOT engage in any activities such as exercise, or sitting in a sauna or hot tub, for 3-4 days after treatment as these activities will encourage blood to flow to the skin. Wearing an appropriate compression garment will also help those veins remain closed.
Q. On each side of my cheeks and nose I have small spider veins. How many spider vein removal treatments with the laser will it take to remove them completely? Are the results permanent and does the laser treatment hurt?
A. Spider veins and broken capillaries on the cheeks and nose are very common and are easily removed with laser treatments. Typically, one to two laser vein removal treatments are all that are needed to completely get rid of them.
The results are permanent, however, as we age, new spider veins and broken capillaries may appear. In regards to pain, a lidocaine cream will be applied to the area prior to treatment with the laser. This will numb the area and help to make the treatment very tolerable and comfortable for the patient.
Q. Does this laser spider vein removal treatment work on varicose veins?
A. Treatment from the outside with a laser will not work for a true varicose vein as the vein is too large. True varicose veins can be treated from the inside with a laser. There are many lasers that are inserted into the varicose vein to shut the vein down and remove it.
Q. I have heard so many different claims of which laser is best for removing spider veins. Which laser technology is best for removing spider veins?
A. The KTP Laser (532 nano-meter wavelength) is far and away the best laser to use to remove common facial spiders veins and and broken capillaries. Other lasers may also be more well suited depending on the size and depth of the vein and whereabouts on the body it is located (if other than the face). However, the secret to broken capillary and spider vein removal is not in the technology, rather it is found in:
- Which combinations of technologies are used
- The customized protocol developed for that particular patient
- The skill of the doctor that is performing the laser treatment
The interaction between the patient’s physiology and the physics of the laser is not a simple “paint by number” proposition. In addition to having a in-depth and thorough understanding of the science behind laser medicine, the art of customizing the perfect laser vein removal protocol for each individual patient takes years to master.
Q. What type of laser do you use for this vein removal treatment (Vbeam? Cutera? PicoWay? GentleNdYag?)?
A. First and foremost, the make and model of the laser is not nearly as important as the experience and expertise of the doctor using it. Secondly, when you are looking for a clinic to perform laser spider vein removal find out how many different laser technologies they use for this type of treatment. The more experience and expertise the doctor has with multiple different laser technologies the better.
We do not promote a particular make or model of laser for these type of spider vein removal treatments like many other medical practices do. When it comes to human physiology, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, is simply not the case. No two spider veins or broken capillaries are alike and they will also differ from patient to patient. Even on a single patient their spider veins or broken capillaries will be different depending where on the body they are. And… there is not one type of laser device that is best suited for all the different variations of spider veins and broken capillaries on all the different areas of the body. Depending on the location, shape, size and depth of the spider vein or broken capillary, plus the patients skin type, different lasers will produce different results in their ability to effectively treat the vein.
We have over 25 different laser devices to choose from in order to produce the appropriate frequency of energy needed to effectively treat all the different variations of veins that a patient may have. In order to achieve the best possible results, we will often use multiple different laser technologies during a single laser broken capillary and spider vein removal session.
Q. What frequency of laser do you use to remove spider veins?
A. The most effective lasers for removing spider veins emit the following frequencies (wave length) of energy: 532 nm, 585 nm, 1064 nm. Depending on the size and depth of the veins being removed, a skill doctor will choose the most appropriate laser therefore it is best if you find a doctor with all of these frequencies available to them.b
Q. Is this vein removal procedure similar to sclerotherapy?
A. Sclerotherapy is an arduous procedure because every single vein has to be injected with exquisite accuracy. Mistakes are not uncommon, and can leave permanent unsightly lesions. On the other hand, laser treatments for spider veins provide fast and consistent results.
Q. What is the gel I see applied to the skin prior to the treatment?
A. The gel is an ultrasound gel. For lasers that contact the skin directly, a gel is used so that the laser glides over the skin smoothly.
Q. Are there any risks with this treatment?
A. Hyperpigmentation, bruising and swelling are the most common side effects. Hyperpigmentation usually resolves its self in a few weeks. Bruising and swelling usually resolves after 3 to 5 days.
If any hyperpigmentation does not resolve on it’s own, we have lasers that will remove it. We do this free of charge.
Learn More About Our Laser Treatments for Spider Veins
References - Read the Science...
Everything on our website comes from from reputable publications, books and scientific journals, most of which are available on PubMed and other government websites. These include Meta-Analysis’, Randomized Controlled Trials, Clinical Trials, Systematic Reviews, Books and Documents. We encourage you to read the science, in order to separate fact from fiction, so that you can arrive at a full understanding of what is best for your skin. We would be honored to be a part of that educational journey with you.
- Spendel S, Prandl EC, Schintler MV, Siegl A, Wittgruber G, Hellbom B, Rappl T, Berghold A, Scharnagl E. Treatment of spider leg veins with the KTP (532 nm) laser–a prospective study. Lasers Surg Med. 2002;31(3):194-201. doi: 10.1002/lsm.10088. PMID: 12224093.
- Kauvar AN. The role of lasers in the treatment of leg veins. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2000 Dec;19(4):245-52. doi: 10.1053/sder.2000.18364. PMID: 11149605.
- Galeckas KJ. Update on lasers and light devices for the treatment of vascular lesions. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2008 Dec;27(4):276-84. doi: 10.1016/j.sder.2008.08.002. PMID: 19150299.
- Bernstein EF, Noyaner-Turley A, Renton B. Treatment of spider veins of the lower extremity with a novel 532 nm KTP laser. Lasers Surg Med. 2014 Feb;46(2):81-8. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22178. Epub 2013 Oct 11. PMID: 24127163.
- Powell E, Markus R, Malone CH. Generalized essential telangiectasia treated with PDL. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Apr;20(4):1086-1087. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13938. Epub 2021 Jan 16. PMID: 33405306.