Laser Vein Removal
Sciton Profile Dual Nd:YAG Laser
For a number of years we have been able to treat facial blood vessels, freckles and other sun induced pigmentation, wrinkles, and tattoos using our krypton, ND-YAG and ultrapulse CO2 lasers. However, although hair and leg vein removal lasers have been marketed for a number of years, we had never been convinced that there was one available that had been well tested and had been shown to produce results that would satisfy us, as well as our patients.
Now, with the development of the Sciton Leg Vein Laser for removal of hair & leg veins, laser vein removal has advanced to a point at which we are comfortable offering this cost-effective treatment to our patients. The purpose of the information presented here is to help you understand the nature of this major advance in laser hair removal and leg vein removal.
How does the Sciton Leg Vein Laser remove leg veins?
The Sciton Leg Vein Laser provides a safe, fast, gentle and effective method for removal of hair and leg veins by producing an intense localized pulse of light of a wavelength which is preferentially absorbed by the pigment, or color, in the hair root or the blood vessel. This specific laser wavelength was selected after there was considerable experience using lasers of other wavelengths for vein removal. After the shortcomings of the earlier approaches became evident, a wavelength was chosen that is able to safely pass through all colors of skin, without being significantly absorbed by other skin structures. However, light of this wavelength is still able to penetrate deeply enough so that it is absorbed by the pigment in the red blood cells in the blood vessels. The laser light passes through a specially designed computer controlled temperature adjustable sapphire cooling plate which helps protect the skin from damage and minimizes patient discomfort. Each light pulse lasts for only several thousandths of a second, so the energy from the beam is almost completely absorbed by the red cells in the vein, without significant spread to the surrounding tissue. The veins are heated and form clots resulting in closure and gradual reabsorption of the vein.
Since the Sciton Leg Vein Laser uses an adjustable beam, it can treat many different sized veins, although it is used most often for smaller veins. The Sciton Leg Vein Laser can be used anywhere on the body, except around the eyes, and treatment can almost always be performed without anesthesia. Smaller leg veins respond with minimal discomfort. With larger leg veins, which absorb more energy, the sensation is similar to the snap of a rubber band. Because of the unique design and flexibility of the system and its handpiece, we can customize treatment according to your skin color and the size and depth of your veins. In just a few treatment sessions the appearance of your skin can be permanently improved.
How does the Sciton Leg Vein Laser differ from the earlier vein removal systems?
Almost all of the older laser systems had relatively short wavelengths, 694 to 810 nanometers, which, under the right conditions, can produce good results. However, because the wavelength of light is shorter, the light is scattered more within the skin and is mostly absorbed in the upper most portion of the skin. This may result in insufficient energy reaching the veins. These short wave length lasers can be difficult or impossible to use safely on people with dark or tanned skin.
However, the Sciton Leg Vein Laser uses the long wavelength of 1064 nanometers. This longer wavelength allows the laser energy to reach even the deepest skin veins, while at the same time allowing safe and effective treatment for all people of all skin colors, even those with darker or black skin. This combination of safety and efficacy represents a major advance over the older treatment systems. The extreme flexibility and adjustability of the Sciton Leg Vein Laser provides an additional benefit over the older systems. This laser allows the operator to easily adjust the duration and power of the laser pulse as well as the size of the laser beam to allow precise, safe and optimized treatment for different types & sizes of vessels. The adjustable sapphire cooling head provides the operator with a clear view of the treatment area and results in a safer and relatively pain free procedure. The 1064 wavelength allows the operator to use clear safety goggles, which provide better visualization than the colored goggles required by the older shorter wavelength lasers.
Who are the best candidates for laser vein removal?
Those individuals with dark veins and light skin color respond most optimally. In people with darker skin color (more melanin in the skin), the skin tends to compete with the hair and veins for light energy, resulting in the potential for damage to the skin. That is why tanning should be avoided before (and after) laser treatments. Because the adjustable sapphire cooling plate of the Sciton Leg Vein Laser tends to protect the skin and because the long wavelength light that is used by this laser tends to penetrate more deeply and scatter less, the Sciton Leg Vein Laser is currently the best laser for treating patients with fine veins and darker skin colors.
What parts of the body can be treated?
With the exception of the area immediately around the eye, all parts of the body can be treated with the Sciton Leg Vein Laser. In women, the most common areas for vein removal are the legs.
What are the advantages of laser vein removal compared to alternative treatments?
The Sciton Leg Vein Laser is a precision instrument that can be adjusted to the exact parameters that will specifically destroy the blood vessel. The removal of leg spider veins is most commonly performed by the injection of a sclerosing solution. For most individuals, this will remain the primary modality of treatment. The Sciton Leg Vein Laser can treat both spider veins and larger vessels, and thus us useful in situations where the injection of sclerosing solution is not desired or is inadvisable. An important advantage of this laser is that it can treat spider veins which are too small to be injected. Although the use of lasers in the treatment of leg veins is still in its infancy, it seems unlikely to produce significant ulceration, which is an occasional side effect seen with the injection of sclerosing solution. Veins which have been treated and do not re-open within one to two months may be considered permanently destroyed. There is no vein treatment that will prevent new vessels developing in the future.
Is laser vein removal "permanent"?
Long term follow-up studies of Sciton Leg Vein Laser vein removal indicate that most of the veins which respond are permanently destroyed. However, a certain percentage of the veins are injured, but not completely destroyed, and some of these may reopen. Therefore, it takes between two to five treatments to remove the veins from a particular area, and even then, there may be resistant veins which persist. For vein removal a 70-90% improvement is a realistic goal.
What results can be expected from vein treatment?
Although the Sciton Leg Vein Laser has a relatively short history of being used on veins, it appears that in many people a 70-90% reduction in small leg veins can be seen after two to five treatments. It is best to wait approximately six months before final evaluation of the procedure.
What preparation is needed before laser treatment?
Tanning should be avoided. The hair at the treatment site should be shaved at home, before the laser treatment. Excess hair, above the skin surface, absorbs laser energy and reduces the amount of energy that reaches the vein. To minimize bruising, it is important to avoid aspirin, anticoagulants and Ibuprofen and its relatives both immediately before and after the laser treatment.
How long will a treatment session take?
For the veins, the treatment time will vary depending on number and density of veins to be treated. In general, the time would be in the range of the time needed to treat hair in the identical area.
Is treatment painful?
Most patients describe the treatment as mildly uncomfortable but not painful. The treatment sensation is compared to the "snap" of a rubber band. The Sciton cooling plate, which provides cooling before, during and after the laser pulse, provides a much more comfortable treatment than that provided by other laser systems. For sensitive areas some people ask for an anesthetic or a mild tranquilizer. Because the treatment of larger leg veins requires larger amounts of energy absorption, this tends to be somewhat more uncomfortable than treatment of other areas. Cooling gel pads are usually applied before and after the treatment and a cooling gel is used during the procedure. Those who have had waxing or electrolysis frequently report that treatment with the Sciton Leg Vein Laser is less uncomfortable. Sometimes there is almost no discomfort.
If you feel you have elevated pain sensitivity, or if we are treating a sensitive area, you may get Elamax or EMLA topical anesthetic creams, which should be applied thickly to the area to be treated about 45 minutes before the treatment. We also have available in our office a more rapidly acting topical anesthetic cream, which will take effect within 30 minutes. Some people find it helpful to take 2 Advil or 2 Tylenol approximately 2 hours before the treatment.
What will I look like after the treatment?
Within a few minutes after the treatment, the treated area will usually become somewhat red and puffy. This reaction usually subsides within a few hours although some mild redness may persist for up to 2 days. Since the skin is not otherwise injured, no bandages are necessary, and you can return to your normal activities immediately.
How many treatments are needed?
Generally, it takes several at monthly intervals, to effectively treat the veins. Usually 3 treatments will be sufficient to achieve maximal benefit for vein therapy.
What are the potential risks of laser treatment?
Some initial redness or swelling is not uncommon, but it usually lasts only a few hours or days. Very rarely a blister can develop, and even more rarely an infection or scar could result. Any injury to the skin can cause a flare of herpes simplex in people who carry the virus in the treated area. This can generally be prevented with appropriate medication. People with darker skin types have more risk of color change, either darkening or lightening of the skin, but the Sciton Leg Vein Laser appears to be the least likely of all the lasers to produce these complications, since its long wavelength and sapphire chilling plate protect the skin surface. It should be noted that other vein removal methods such as sclerotherapy can produce some similar adverse effects.
What type of care and precautions are required after the laser treatment?
Most patients experience no noticeable after-effects following treatment with the Sciton Leg Vein Laser. Treated areas should not be exposed to irritants such as topical acne preparations or abrasive cleansers. Mild topical cream, such as Cetaphil Cream, may hasten resolution of any pinkness, and cold packs can be used to reduce any swelling. Long term sun protection is important with the use of clothing as well as sunscreens with high protection against ultraviolet A rays. The best available sunscreens for this purpose are available in our office.
Are there any patients that cannot be treated?
With the Sciton Leg Vein Laser, people of all skin types can be treated. The darker the skin type, the more treatments and the slower the treatment, so it is preferable not to have a tan when being treated.
How much does the treatment cost?
Laser vein removal costs $300 per 20-minute session.
Why should you choose California Skin & Laser Center for your laser vein removal?
At California Skin & Laser Center, we want you to have an excellent outcome and to feel that your needs and concerns have been promptly addressed in a caring and sensitive fashion. We strive diligently to ensure your satisfaction, your comfort, your privacy, and your safety. All treatments are supervised or performed by a board-certified dermatologist with many years of successful experience in a large variety of cosmetic procedures. Many treatment modalities are available, and we can recommend the one or two that are most likely to meet your needs; we're here to meet your needs and help you realize your aspirations. At our clinic in Stockton, CA, we serve communities throughout San Joaquin County and the Central Valley, including Lodi, Sacramento, Tracy, Manteca, Modesto, Galt, and Valley Springs; many of our patients also come from the San Francisco Bay Area.
©2013 California Skin & Laser Center. At CSLC we respect and protect your privacy. Any information you provide us through any means, including our Web site, including your e-mail address, is for the exclusive use of CSLC and will not be sold or shared with any person, group or entity outside CSLC.