Visible veins can become an embarrassing cosmetic problem, particularly when they show up on noticeable areas like the legs or face. If spider and varicose veins have left you running for your long pants and avoiding beach days, you will be happy to know there are solutions. At The Maas ClinicTM, we offer a broad range of technology for treating unsightly veins, from light therapy to radiofrequency ablation. Whether you are bothered by spider veins on the face or varicose veins roping up your calves, our team of experts can help you say goodbye to visible veins and hello to clearer skin.

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

There are two different types of veins you might notice on the surface of your skin:

Spider Veins

These red and blue lines are close to the skin’s surface and often form a network or pattern. Spider veins aren’t usually more than a cosmetic nuisance, but they can become quite prominent over time. These visible vessels are caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Weight gain or a sedentary lifestyle
  • Long periods of sitting or standing
  • Some medications
  • Sun exposure or other trauma to the skin

Different methods of spider vein treatment are available. Dr. Maas will determine the right process for you based on the size, number and location of the vessels. Rest assured that spider vein treatments are all performed in our office quickly and relatively comfortably, allowing you to eliminate this aesthetic problem without significant disruption to your daily schedule.

Varicose Veins

These vessels typically appear on the legs and tend to be larger than spider veins. Varicose veins are the result of an underlying vein condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when tiny valves inside the vessels become damaged and fail to regulate the flow of blood in a one-way direction to the heart. The blood starts to pool inside the vein, causing it to swell and become varicose.

Because there is a condition linked to varicose veins, these vessels may become symptomatic over time if they are left untreated. Patients may notice their legs feel heavy at the end of the day or they may experience swelling in the lower extremity. Skin changes are also a common problem, leading to discoloration and thinning of the skin around the affected vessel. Treatment will eliminate both the appearance of the vein and the accompanying symptoms in most cases.

What is IPL Treatment?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is one option for treating broken capillaries and vascular redness often associated with skin conditions like rosacea. This device delivers wavelengths of light that target the blood, coagulating and destroying the vessels. IPL offers dramatic improvements of these visible vessels without significant discomfort or downtime. The procedure may be performed on sensitive areas like the face without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

Treatment Overview

Before your IPL treatment, we might apply a topical anesthetic to the skin to ensure a comfortable treatment process. A handpiece is applied to the skin to deliver the light pulses into the dermal structure. Most IPL treatments take just a few minutes to complete, depending on the size of the treatment area. If topical numbing is used, an extra 30 minutes will be added to your appointment time to give the anesthetic time to work.

After IPL Treatment

There is no downtime after an IPL procedure so that you can resume your activities immediately. The skin may be pink and slightly tender after your appointment, but it should not keep you from any of your tasks. It is critical to protect treated skin from the sun for a few days since this dermis will be especially vulnerable to burning and damage during this time.

What is Laser Treatment?

Lasers are another type of technology that can be used to eliminate unwanted veins. At The Maas ClinicTM, we use the Nd:YAG Lumenis laser device to help our patients say goodbye to superficial spider veins and vascular lesions. This noninvasive laser works similarly to the IPL device, targeting the blood inside the visible vessel and causing it to collapse.

However, instead of multiple light wavelengths, this device emits a single, long wave of infrared light, which can target deeper veins as well as those right on the surface. The body absorbs treated veins, and blood naturally reroutes through healthy veins nearby.

Treatment Overview

Treatments using the Lumenis laser do not require anesthesia beforehand or downtime afterward. Topical numbing cream may be applied for patients concerned about their comfort level during the session. A handpiece delivers the laser energy directly into the vessel, causing it to collapse. Most appointments take no more than 20 or 30 minutes to complete.

After Laser Treatment

You won’t have any recovery time after your laser treatment. The skin might be slightly pink or tender to the touch, but these side effects should subside within 24 hours after your appointment. Be sure to protect skin from the sun for at least two weeks after your procedure, since treated skin is especially vulnerable to burning. You may require a series of two to six appointments, spaced four to six weeks apart, to achieve an optimal outcome.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

While laser and light treatments are excellent choices for small, superficial veins, varicose veins require a different approach. Vein ablation is the process of sealing a vein closed from the inside, so the vessel collapses and can be reabsorbed by the body. Dr. Maas uses radiofrequency or RF technology, which delivers RF energy into the vein to heat and close it.

The heat from the radiofrequency energy is controlled, so it only affects the treated vessel and does not damage any surrounding veins or tissue.

Treatment Overview

Radiofrequency ablation is performed using a local anesthetic, so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. A thin fiber is threaded into the affected vessel, which delivers the radiofrequency energy to heat the vein. As the fiber is pulled out, the vein slowly seals closed and collapses so the body can eliminate it naturally. The entry points for the fiber are too small to require sutures and rarely leave any visible scarring behind.

After Radiofrequency Ablation

Most patients resume their daily schedules the day after radiofrequency ablation. There is rarely much discomfort or other side effects after the procedure. Dr. Maas will advise you to wear compression stockings for a week or two to encourage healthy blood flow and promote healing in the treatment area. Results of this treatment can usually be seen right away and continue to improve as the leg heals. Sine the vein is eliminated, the effects of radiofrequency ablation are permanent.

However, other veins can become varicose over time, necessitating additional procedures to maintain your clear appearance. Visible veins can become a significant cosmetic issue, causing you embarrassment and making you self-conscious about your appearance.

At The Maas ClinicTM, we offer a variety of options in vein treatment to help you say goodbye to unsightly veins no matter where they show up. Contact our office today at (415) 567-7000 or contact us by email to schedule your consultation.

The information about laser and radiofrequency vein treatments was reviewed by Corey S. Maas MDTM. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.

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