Vascular lesions, such as spider veins, angiomas, and deeper reticular veins can be treated with the CUTERA® Nd:YAG 1064 nm laser. Prior to treatment, a consultation is done to determine the patient’s goals and candidacy for the procedure. The estimated duration and cost of the procedure is provided at that time.
Individuals develop spider veins because the valves in deep functioning veins weaken and some blood leaks out. Hormones, genetics, certain occupations, and sitting or standing for long periods of time can contribute to spider veins.
The laser delivers pulses of light energy to the leg veins, which causes the blood within the vein to heat up and coagulate. After coagulation, the vessel seals and is later reabsorbed by the body.
It is important to cool the skin while delivering laser energy to avoid skin injury. Cooling gel and the chilled laser tip will protect your skin during this treatment.
Alternatives to laser treatment for leg veins include sclerotherapy and/or surgery.
Who is a good candidate?
Patients with spider veins, and/or other leg veins are good candidates. Patients must have a lighter skin type.
Who is not a good candidate?
Patients who have darker skin types are not candidates for laser treatment. Varicose veins are not treatable with the CUTERA® Nd:YAG 1064nm laser.
If you are pregnant, have been on Accutane within three months, or have peripheral vascular disease, you should not have this procedure. You should advise us of all oral and topical medications that you are currently using prior to treatment, as some medications are photosensitizing and laser treatment should not be performed while you are taking such medications. Patients also cannot be treated if they are taking blood thinning medications.
If you are tanned, or have recently been exposed to the sun in the area to be treated, you may be more susceptible to potential side effects, such as blisters or crusts.
The most obvious potential benefit of this treatment is an improvement in the appearance of leg veins.
Every cosmetic laser therapy procedure involves a certain amount of risk, and it is important that you comprehend and accept the risks involved with the CUTERA® Nd:YAG 1064nm laser and treatment of leg veins. An individual’s informed decision to undergo any cosmetic procedure is based upon a comparison of the risks to potential benefits, alternatives, and costs. Although the majority of patients do not experience complications, each item will be discussed fully with your nurse to ensure your understanding.
- Discomfort/Pain: You may experience a minor and tolerable degree of heat or snapping sensation with each pulse of the laser. Your legs may feel “achy” or tender after the treatment.
- Redness/Swelling: Rarely, a minor degree of redness and/or puffiness of the skin may follow treatment. This usually lasts 1-2 hours and is easily camouflaged with makeup. This may persist, in rare instances, for 1-2 days.
- Bruising: It is uncommon to have any skin bruising following treatment. If bruising occurs, it can be camouflaged immediately, and will usually take 8-10 days to resolve.
- Hemosiderin Staining: This is caused by iron leaking into the tissue from blood breakdown. If this does occur, it usually resolves over time, but in rare cases could be permanent.
- Skin Wound: It is exceedingly rare for lasers to cause a blister or skin wound. This is more of a risk in darker skin types. If a blister or skin wound develops, it may take 5-10 days to heal. In extremely rare instances, it may leave a noticeable lightening or darkening of the skin, or cause a scar.
- Infection: Infection is a rare possibility whenever the skin surface is disrupted. Through proper wound care and keeping the treated area clean, this risk is minimized. Should you develop a blister, you should notify the clinic, and utilize an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin) as directed to help avoid a skin infection.
- Scarring: Scarring is a rare occurrence; however, it is a possibility if the skin surface is disrupted. It is imperative that you follow all post-treatment instructions carefully.
- Pigment Changes: There is a very small risk that the treated area could become lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) in colour compared to the surrounding skin. This is usually temporary, but on rare occasion, it may be permanent.
- Eye Protection: Patients are required to use protective Clinic 805 goggles at all times during the treatment to prevent the possibility of laser injury to the eyes.
- Sun Protection: Treatment cannot be performed if you have an active tan. This includes the use of tanning lotions and beds. You must avoid sun exposure after the treatment for two weeks and use an SPF of 30 or higher every day.
protocol for multiple treatments
Most patients require a minimum of three treatments spaced eight weeks apart to see reduction in the appearance of leg veins. Though most patients see some improvement by eight weeks, in some cases it can take several months for results to become apparent. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled after your prescribed course of treatment to determine if further treatments are necessary. It is important to note that over time, new veins can appear. These can be treated per the protocol above.
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