BU Cosmetic & Laser Center
Laser Procedures – Laser Therapy for Vascular Lesions
What is a benign vascular lesion?
Benign vascular lesions are overgrown enlarged blood vessels or multiple small vessels. There is a way to treat these vessels, safely, easily and effectively with the VBeam® laser for vascular lesions by targeting the red blood cells which in turn heat and damage the vessels.
What kind of vascular lesions are treated with the laser?
The vascular laser can treat vascular lesions such as telangiectasias or spider veins, port wine stain birthmarks, and strawberry hemangiomas. Leg veins up to 2 mm. in width can be eliminated. What all these conditions have in common is that they are made up of abnormal blood vessels in the skin. They all vary in severity for example, telangiectasias, or broken blood vessels, usually involve single vessels and are often harmless. Port wine stains, on the other hand, tend to grow with the patient, usually infants, darken in color and will never go away if left untreated. Hemangiomas grow very rapidly after birth but often go away with time. Some, however may impair vision or breathing and should be treated before they are allowed to advance to this stage. In addition, warts, red and raised scars and inflammatory lesions such as psoriasis can be treated by targeting their rich vascular supply.
Why is treatment with a laser safe and effective?
The laser is safe and effective because of its unique ability to selectively treat the blood vessels of a vascular lesion without adversely affecting the surrounding tissue. Thus, it will eliminate many lesions while leaving the surrounding skin intact. In fact, the laser is so safe that it is recommended for the treatment of infants as young as a few weeks old.
Is the treatment with the laser painful?
Our laser is equipped with an attached cooling device that minimizes pain. Most patients tolerate treatments without the need for anesthesia, although treatments of larger lesions may be less comfortable.
What does the treatment involve?
Treatment with the laser varies from patient to patient depending on the type of lesion, and the size of the affected area. Some lesions, like small broken vessels, will require only a few pulses, while others, like port wine stains, will require many more. Leg veins will sometimes require more than one treatment.
Should certain precautions be taken after the treatment?
Immediately following treatment, some patients find the application of an ice pack to be soothing to the treated area. Some patients may require the application of a topical antibiotic cream or ointment. In addition, care should be taken in the first few days following treatment to avoid abrasive skin cleansers and to avoid scrubbing the area. A bandage or patch may be helpful in preventing abrasion of the treated area.
Are there any side effects?
Unlike other methods of treatment, the laser greatly reduces the potential for scarring or changes in the skin texture. You will, however, experience some temporary discoloration of the skin around the treatment site. This blue-grey discoloration is called purpura and usually resolves in 5-7 days. When treating leg veins, however, the purpura may last from 7-14 days. Also, depending on your skin type, and the site and size of lesion treated, some patients may experience a temporary brown discoloration of the skin for a few weeks following treatment. It is always transient, however. These side effects can be often minimized with proper preoperative and postoperative care. The laser can be used with much less purpura but additional treatments might be necessary.
Are there any other precautions that I should know about?
Optimal results will be achieved with the laser if you are not suntanned. It is also recommended that you avoid exposing the treated area to the sun or cover the area with sun block that has been approved by your physician. Because pigment is often closer to the surface of the skin than the blood vessels of a lesion, a lot of pigment, such as in "tanned" or deeply pigmented skin, may act as a barrier to prevent the laser light from reaching the lesion. Therefore, the laser is most effective in lighter skin types.
Are there any alternative treatments for leg veins?
Sclerotherapy is a alternative treatment for leg veins. This entails use of an injection to induce sclerosis of the undesired vessel. A series of injections along the path of the vessel are done, and compression for a few days may be necessary. Depending on the type of unwanted leg veins, sclerotherapy may be recommended as an adjunct to or as an alternative to laser therapy.