Laser Treatment for Thread Veins

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Lasers are being used as a non-invasive treatment option for a growing number of medical conditions, including thread veins. A laser is essentially a focussed beam of light that, when applied to thread veins, reverses the expansion of the vessels that results in their characteristic web like pattern.

How does it work?

The laser’s function relies on a molecule found within all red blood cells, haemoglobin, a protein responsible for both the red colour of these cells and their ability to carry oxygen. Haemoglobin absorbs the energy within the laser bean. The result is an increase in the temperature of the blood vessel, which eventually hardens and collapses inwards, causing the vessel to shut, therefore eliminating those irksome thread veins as the eliminated vessel is broken down by the body’s repair mechanisms.

The procedure has the benefit of being non-invasive and convenient. Typically a full Doppler ultrasound assessment will be carried out to assess the vasculature of the target area.  If all is well a treatment plan is developed, in which 2 or 3 laser sessions are planned to remove the thread veins completely. The sessions themselves can take anywhere up to half an hour, but are typically shorter. A local anaesthetic is applied by means of a topical gel applied to the affected area of skin, and the laser treatment is the conducted.

Caveats of Laser Surgery

Unfortunately, as with all things, there is a slight caveat to laser therapy. Treated skin can become red and swollen, and blistering can occur. These may cause some concern, but often clear up within a few days. Applying a high energy beam of light to the skin for any period of time carries with it a risk of more permanent damage. It is possible that laser treatment causes patches of discoloured skin, a consequence of pigment damage caused by the therapy, these often clear up, but there is a risk that they do not and remain as blotches of discoloured skin.

Post-treatment care is vital to allow the treated skin to return to normal. You should take care to avoid direct sunlight and keep well moisturised. It usually takes eight weeks for your skin to demonstrate the full effectiveness of the treatment, and further sessions will usually be carried out after this point.

Suitability for laser treatment is very much individual. Skin tone and the size of the thread veins affect healing time, the success of the procedure, and the likelihood of pigment damage or scarring. Professionals will assess your suitability for the therapy, taking into account these factors as well as any underlying complications. You should always check with your doctor for the possibility of other vascular problems underlying your thread veins, e.g. varicose veins. Such conditions should be treated first before considering any further cosmetic steps, if you’re lucky, those pesky veins could clear up themselves!

Bearing these points in mind however, laser therapy is a convenient, non-surgical, and effective option for clearing up thread veins.

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