Chronic vein disorders like varicose veins and spider veins can be treated with intravenous laser treatments and with laser treatments applied to the skin surface. Laser treatments will send bursts of light into the vein, which will destroy the vein or make it slowly disappear.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons there were 207,790 laser treatments for varicose and spider veins performed in 2014 in the United States.
Choosing Laser Treatment for Chronic Vein Disorders
Patients choose to have laser treatments for chronic leg vein disorders if they have leg vein conditions that cause:
- Veins that bulge out from the skin
- Veins that are purple or blue
- Achy feeling in legs
- Veins that appear twisted
- Cramping in the legs
- Pain after sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time
Doctors are not sure why varicose and spider veins develop in some people and not others. These chronic vein disorders seem to be hereditary, and may be a signal for circulatory problems. Patients who live sedentary lifestyles or who have gained a lot of weight are most at risk for varicose and spider veins.
Healthy veins have valves that block the blood from flowing backward and keep all blood flow in one direction. In some people, these valves stop functioning properly and allow blood to flow back and pool inside the vein causing varicose veins, or allows the blood to flow back and pool in smaller veins creating spider veins.
Varicose and spider veins can occur anywhere on the body, but are most common in the legs and thighs. Both are much more common in women than in men. Age is a major factor for varicose and spider veins because veins loose elasticity as they get older which causes them to stretch and become weak. Pregnancy may also be a factor in developing certain vein conditions.
There is no way to prevent varicose and spider veins. Most treatments for these conditions are purely cosmetic and do not stem from a particular medical need. Some patients do experience pain or discomfort as a result of varicose and spider veins and choose to have them treated. In rare cases, untreated varicose and spider veins can cause ulcers, blood clots, and bleeding.
Laser vein treatments will cost between $300 and $3,000 depending on the type of treatment sought, the number of treatments needed, and the extent of each treatment.
Patients will usually pay for these treatments out of pocket because most health insurance companies do not cover elective cosmetic procedures.
Laser Treatment Procedure
There are two different techniques for laser treatment of varicose and spider veins: laser treatment on the surface of the skin, and endovenous laser therapy or laser therapy inside the vein.
Laser treatments on the surface of the skin use targeted light therapy to heat the veins and cause the walls to collapse, eventually destroying the vein and allowing the body to re-absorb the vein. This treatment is painless for the patient; a medical professional will pass a device over the surface of the skin. Multiple treatment sessions are usually needed for best results.
Endovenous laser treatments use laser light inserted into the veins to destroy the veins from within. A medical professional will take an ultrasound of the targeted area to note and mark specific problem areas. A small amount of anesthetic will be injected into the skin near the vein, and a needle will be inserted into the vein. A catheter will be inserted into the site to allow a thin fiber with a laser tip to be passed into the vein. Additional anesthetic will be injected into the skin around the vein. The laser fiber will be pulled through the vein and removed. Patients may need additional sessions of endovenous laser treatment to achieve the best results.
Like skin surface laser treatments, endovenous laser treatments cause the vein to collapse and seal. The body will reroute the blood to other, healthier veins and the collapsed vein will fade from view.
These treatments usually take between 20 and 30 minutes per leg.
Patients will be able to return to normal activities the same day after treatment. Medical professionals may ask that patients wear compression stockings for the first week after treatment.
Your healthcare professional should follow up the treatment with an ultrasound to make sure the vein has closed.
Risks of Laser Treatments for Leg Veins
- Burns on the skin
- Discoloration of skin
- Thrombophlebitis— hardening of the vein
- Nerve damage
- Blood clots
- Deep vein thrombosis
Healthcare professionals should discuss all possible risks with patients before the procedure.
Medical Malpractice in Laser Treatments for Leg Veins
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury as a result of a laser leg vein treatment, you may have a medical malpractice case. The law offices of Gillman & Bedigian have been protecting the legal rights of Maryland residents for years. We have a licensed physician on staff who understands the procedures and standards of cosmetic surgeries.
For a free consultation with one of your attorneys, call our offices today at (800) 529-616