What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are the result of shallow veins which have incompetent valves that do not close properly thus allowing blood to pool in the legs and feet. This produces a network of swollen, bulging and frequently painful blue veins which we call varicose veins.

What causes varicose veins and spider veins?

In healthy veins, blood flows steadily through the veins up to the heart. With age, weight gain, pregnancy, physical stress or other changes to the body, some of the valves in the veins can weaken to the point where instead of propelling blood flow along, they allow pooling or reversal of blood flow. It is this pooling that creates the dark blue or purple discoloration as well as the bulges or knots visible in the legs where varicose veins occur.

Varicose veins are uncomfortable – and can also be indicative of more significant vascular problems affecting the heart and circulatory system. For all of those reasons, patients suffering from varicose veins should seek treatment immediately.

Spider veins, on the other hand, can appear in the arms or legs, or on the chest, face or head. They have a spider-web or “road-map-like” appearance. Though less unsightly and uncomfortable than varicose veins, spider veins also warrant immediate medical consultation.

How does laser work to improve unsightly veins?

Laser vein removal is an easy, fast, and effective way to treat superficial veins. Lasers deliver a pulse of light energy causing the blood within the vein to coagulate, eventually destroying the vessel which is later reabsorbed by the body. Blood flow will then be redirected to veins deeper below your skin’s surface, where it should be. Lasers can remove unsightly veins from all parts of the body.

Small facial veins (or telangiectasias) can be treated quickly without bruising or complication.

Spider veins and small blue leg veins can also be treated with excellent results. Knotty varicose veins are not good candidates for laser treatment.

Red vascular moles, or hemangiomas respond very well to laser vein therapy, usually with just one treatment. Patients with port wine stains and other vascular lesions who had given up on finding a solution have been overwhelmed by the success of their vascular treatments.

The Neodymium YAG Laser with a 1064 NM wavelength is proving to be extremely effective in the treatment of both reticular veins of the legs and large spider veins of the face, especially on the nose. Its longer wavelength penetrates deeper and is less absorbed by skin pigment than most other lasers. This makes it safer to use on darker skinned individuals.


© 2012 Newport Dermatology & Laser Associates, Dr. Dore Gilbert

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