What are Unsightly Veins?
It's nearly impossible to get through life without unsightly veins, blood vessels and other benign vascular lesions. They are a problem for millions of men and women worldwide. In some cases, the issues are primarily cosmetic in nature, and for others, unwanted leg veins sometimes pose a health risk that demands attention.
It's estimated that over 60% of the population suffers from varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels that have widened due to a weakness in the vein wall or a problem with the valves that control the flow of blood. Spider veins are the small, superficial purple or red veins stretching like a web under the skin. Overexposure to the sun is believed to contribute to the dilation of spider veins, especially those found on the face.
Unsightly veins become more common with age. Over 40% of middle-aged women (age 40 to 50) report problems with unsightly leg veins. That percentage increases to 72% in women age 60 to 70.
Until recently, treatment for varicose and spider veins was a long and painful process that involved needles and other invasive procedures, sometimes even surgery. New light-based therapies are allowing physicians to successfully treat many types of unsightly veins, simply and non-invasively.
What are Unsightly Veins?
Doctors often refer to unsightly veins as benign vascular lesions. These lesions appear on the surface of the skin as splotches, dots, bulges and spider shapes. They can show up in a variety of colors ranging from red to purple to brown. Sometimes they are caused by weakness in the walls or valves of veins, causing blood to stagnate rather than be circulated. Some vascular lesions are so tiny that they are not visible under normal conditions, and others are quite prominent.
Varicose leg veins are the most common type of vascular lesion. They are believed to be hereditary, but are also associated with injuries, infections, hormonal factors and lifestyles. Obesity, pregnancy, old age and prolonged standing may also contribute to the condition.
Varicose veins are commonly found along the inside of the leg, at the back of the calf and at the ankles. The veins are blue and appear swollen, kinked, twisted or "ropey" in appearance. In fact, the word "varicose" comes from the Greek term for "grapelike." Some patients experience no symptoms from varicose veins. Others may be aware of pressure or a dull ache in their legs. Varicose veins can also cause the feet and ankles to swell. Symptoms are usually worse at the end of the day.
Large varicose veins can be an indication of a serious vascular disorder. Slow blood flow can cause blood clots to form inside the affected vein. The slowing of blood flow through the vein can also lead to open sores or ulcers on the skin. More than one million Americans suffer from leg ulcers and nearly 100,000 are disabled by the condition. In this country, six million workdays are lost each year due to complications of varicose veins.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), leg veins tend to increase as people age:
Broken Veins and Capillaries
The face has an extensive network of veins and small blood vessels called capillaries. Aging, trauma, sun exposure and other factors can cause these vessels to become more prominent or to break. The breaks, also called telangiectasias, commonly appear as spider veins or as red streaks or blotches. Sometimes broken capillaries can cause a diffused redness in the skin, called erythema, a source of social embarrassment for many people. Rosacea is a common skin condition that is characterized by diffused erythema.
A number of therapeutic options exist for varicose veins and other benign vascular lesions. However, most of these conditions have been stubbornly resistant to the traditional arsenal of treatments used to combat them.
Until recently, this was the primary treatment for varicose leg veins. The procedure involves using a syringe and needle to inject an irritating solution into the vein, which causes it to scar and collapse. Sclerotherapy has been somewhat effective for smaller veins, but the treatment can be painful and often requires multiple injections and repeat treatments. Side effects include bruising, burning, swelling and inflammation; patients need to wear bandages or compression stockings for several days after treatment.
Larger varicose veins that do not respond to sclerotherapy are sometimes surgically removed in a process called vein stripping and ligation. This is particularly advised for patients who suffer from blood clots or skin ulcers. During this procedure abnormal veins are tied off and pulled out of the body through a series of small cuts in the skin.
Several laser systems have been used totreat varicose veins, but results have been inconsistent, due to the inability to treat larger veins or complex networks of different size vessels located at varying depths of the skin.
New Treatment Options: Lasers and IPL™
Breakthrough technology provides non-invasive, gentle treatments for varicose and spider veins as well as facial blood vessels. Multi-application IPL™ System technology includes a pulsed laser light combined with a broad band of IntensePulsed Light (IPL) to offer the most effective and long-lasting results for the widest range of benign vascular lesions. With proprietary Multiple Synchronized Pulsing™ capabilities, IPL systems selectively heat and destroy different sized blood vessels at depths below the skin's surface with excellent results. Physicians are now able to treat complex and interwoven networks of large vessels and webs of small capillaries with pinpoint accuracy, eliminating the unwanted veins and sparing the adjacent healthy ones. By delivering the laser light in highly focused pulses, the IPL computer-controlled system allows the skin and healthy surrounding tissues to cool down, avoiding thermal damage. Pain during treatment and side effects afterward are greatly reduced. Most people can immediately return to their normal routines.
IntensePulsed Light is the treatment of choice for surface veins and spider veins, while greatly improving the overall appearance of the skin. In addition to treating blood vessels, IPL provides dramatic results for a variety of benign conditions that are common to the aging face,including age spots, sun-induced freckles, symptoms of rosacea, birthmarks, unsightly veins, acne scarring and other blemishes.Treatments are well tolerated and patients quickly return to their normal activities.
What are unsightly veins?
These benign vascular lesions include enlarged blood vessels and capillaries that appear on the surface of the skin as splotches, dots, bulges and spider shapes. They can show up in a variety of colors ranging from red to purple to brown. Weakness in the walls and valves of the veins cause blood to stagnate rather than to be properly circulated. Some vascular lesions are so tiny that they are not visible under normal conditions. Others, such as varicose leg veins can be quite prominent.
Can unsightly veins be prevented?
It is impossible to totally control the occurrence of varicose and spider veins. But taking certain precautions may make them less likely:
- Avoid sun exposure. Ultraviolet light may play a role in dilation of the blood vessels, especially in the face.
- Wear support hose - this is especially important for those with jobs that require lots of standing or walking.
- Elevate the legs as much as possible when at rest.
Varicose leg veins are believed to be hereditary, but are also associated with injuries, infections, hormonal factors and lifestyles. Obesity, pregnancy, old age and prolonged standing may also contribute to varicose veins.
What types of unsightly veins can be treated with the IPL™ System?
Many IPL systems are equipped with two different light technologies, making it the treatment of choice for both varicose veins and discolored clusters, commonly called "spider veins" that are near the skin's surface.
What technology is used for deeper blue varicose veins?
The laser component of the multi-application IPL system is used to treat larger, deeper veins. These veins respond to the precise energy level and wavelength of light that is used. A small spot of laser light travels through the skin, and is absorbed by the blood within the vein. The resulting heat coagulates or clots the blood, and destroys the function of the vein. This process does not affect the surrounding tissue. Over time, the vein is absorbed by the body and disappears from sight.
How are surface veins and spider veins treated?
The Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology successfully treats small, superficial blood vessels using precise pulses of light energy.
How many treatments are needed?
Leg veins require multiple treatment sessions over the course of a few months. Small vessels also require several treatments to resolve.
What is a treatment with IPL like? Is it painful?
A pulse of laser or Intense Pulsed Light energy may feel like a pinch similar to a rubber band being snapped on the skin. A chilled gel applied to the skin and other techniques prevent discomfort. Patients wear protective eye wear during treatment. The entire process is brief and non-invasive.
What preparations must I make prior to treatment?
Patients do not have to change their normal routines before or after treatment. Sun exposure must be limited prior to and following any type of laser or IPL treatment. Treatment should not be performed on tanned skin.
Are treatments with IPL safe? Are they approved by the government?
IPL systems are FDA-cleared to treat the full range of benign vascular and pigmented lesions. These include varicose veins,telangiectasias, diffused redness in the skin (erythema) and vascular birthmarks such as port wine stains.
Does insurance cover IPL treatments for varicose leg veins?
Coverage varies from carrier to carrier. In most instances insurance does not cover the cost of cosmetic procedures. Patients should consult with their physicians and individual insurance companies for more information.
How is IPL used to treat benign vascular lesions?
The face has an extensive network of veins and tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Over time, aging, trauma, sun exposure and certain lifestyle factors cause a them to become more prominent or break - these breakages appear as red streaks, spider veins, or blotches on the skin. The IPL treatment destroys capillaries and excess blood that has leaked into the skin without harming surrounding tissue. Overtime, the capillary is reabsorbed by the body and disappears.
IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation, as the treatment is frequently called, also improve the signs of aging from the face, neck, chest, arms, and hands. It is an in-office procedure performed by a physician or trained medical staff member. A treatment program typically includes four to six sessions of about 20 minutes each, performed at three week intervals
Why are IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation better than other treatments?
In addition to treating multiple symptoms and locations in each session, the IPL procedure is gentle, non-invasive and safe. Because of this, there is no downtime. Patients see results in the complexion of the entire face and can return to normal routines and activities immediately after treatment. In fact, many people schedule their sessions during their lunch break. Additionally, IPL treatments are customized to specific skin type and color, providing the best possible results.
Who is a candidate for this new procedure?
Any man or woman who is showing the signs of aging and sun damaged skin is a candidate for IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation. A brief consultation with an IPL specialist should provide all the information needed.
Why are multiple treatments necessary?
By dividing the full IPL program into several treatments, the procedure provides gradual, natural looking improvement with very low risk. Results are long lasting, usually a year or more.
How much do IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation cost?
Costs vary depending on several factors such as the severity of the skin condition. Compared to other aesthetic procedures, IPL Skin Treatments using Photorejuvenation are quite affordable and competitive. It is usually priced above microdermabrasion or certain chemical peels, but less than laser resurfacing and cosmetic surgeries. IPL procedures are not typically covered by health insurance.
Discover the Beauty of elos leg and facial treatment for problem veins. If leg or facial veins are a problem for you, we have good news. You don't have to live with it. Offending veins (small, red spider veins on the face to large blue-green leg veins) can be easily and effectively diminished with state-of-the-art elos treatments.
How does elos vein treatment work?
The combined radio frequency and light energies of elos precisely target and heat the offending vein, which causes it to fade.
Is elos vein treatment right for me?
elos vein treatment works for most skin types. During your initial consultation, your medical practitioner will let you know if you are a good candidate.
When can I expect to see results?
Often improvement can be seen after your 1st treatment. But it usually takes between 1 and 3 treatments to completely diminish the veins. The number of treatment sessions depends on the extent and depth of the veins. During your initial consultation, your medical practitioner will personalize your treatment schedule for maximum results.
Does it hurt?
Some patients experience a mild discomfort, while others are more sensitive. For more sensitive patients, a topical anesthetic can be applied prior to treatment. If you tend to be more sensitive, let your medical practitioner know.
For your added safety and peace of mind, elos technology features an advanced patient comfort system, which monitors your skin and keeps it at a soothing cool temperature during the procedure.
Treatment with elos is easy. There's no surgery, no sedation, and no downtime. And most procedures take 30 minutes or less.
How much does it cost?
Treatment costs vary. Your medical practitioner will go over these details with you during your initial consultation.
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