Intense pulsed light treats spider veins and small surface varicose veins by exposing them to heat through the skin’s surface. The heat does not damage the skin but causes the walls of the vein to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue. Intense pulsed light can be used alone or as a complement to sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins.
Intense Pulsed Light: An Overview
How It Works: A special device is used to apply heat the problem vein . The heat from the device causes the walls of the vein to swell shut, stick together, and eventually heal into invisible scar tissue.
What It Treats: Intense pulsed light is a treatment for spider veins. It is often used to remove facial spider veins.
Pros: The treatment requires no downtime, is non-surgical and does not require anesthesia.
Cons: Minor skin irritation may result and multiple treatments are often required.
Alternatives: Laser therapy and sclerotherapy are both alternatives, as well as adjunct treatments.
Type of Procedure: Non-invasive, non-surgical and performed in an office setting in about thirty minutes. Some patients experience no pain while others report mild discomfort that abates upon completion of the procedure.
Recovery Process: There is no recovery period. Patients may immediately resume normal activities. When the treatment is performed on the face it is recommended to minimize sun exposure for a few days. The skin may appear to be flushed and brown spots on the face may appear darker, however the redness usually fades within 12 hours and darkened pigment returns to normal in a few weeks.
Results: The procedure has good outcomes for the majority of patients. Repeat treatments spread out over a period of several weeks are usually required.
Side Effects: Redness, tenderness and puffiness of the skin are common side effects. They usually last only for a few hours. Rarely burning or scarring may occur.
Cost/Insurance: Consult your health care practitioner and insurance provider to verify cost and coverage of any vein treatments.
Consult Your Doctor: You should bring any documents necessary to give your doctor an accurate medical history, including recent illnesses and any allergies that you have. Make a list of the medications and supplements that you are currently taking as well as the symptoms that you are feeling. Write down any questions that you have ahead of time and bring them with you. Make sure you understand your doctor’s answers.