- The Effect
- The Procedure
- Best Candiate
- Side Effects
- Recovery Time
Vascular Lesion Laser Treatment is used to treat benign vascular lesions which are overgrown enlarged blood vessels or multiple small vessels. This treatment is safe, easy, and effective in targeting red blood cells which then heat and damage the vessels.
The use of this procedure differs for each patient. This depends on what kind of lesion the patient has or the size of the affected area. For lesions with small broken vessels, only a few pulses are required unlike with port wine stains, many pulses are necessary. There may also be instances when more than one session is required to treat leg veins.
Time required for this procedure usually takes a few minutes to an hour. There may be cases which require more than one session. This is usually done on an outpatient basis except if this is combined with other surgical procedures that need hospitalization. Anesthesia used may be a numbing spray, local or general.
Some of the most common side effects of this procedure are temporary swelling, discomfort, or lightening of the treated area. Increased sensitivity to cosmetics and sensitivity to acute sun exposure may also be experienced. It may take up to six months wherein the patient may have persistence of pinkness or redness of the skin.
The patient may resume work in about two weeks. But it would take a longer time, about 4 to 6 weeks to go back to doing strenuous activities. The fading of the redness or erythema of the skin takes approximately three months. Return of pigmentation/sun exposure, on the other hand, takes about 6 to 12 months.
What does this treatment involve?
Pulses are used in vascular specific laser treatment; however, this varies from patient to patient. Lesions like small broken vessels make use of only a few pulses. Cases such as port-wine stains require more. Treatment of leg veins every so often would necessitate more than one treatment.
What kind of vascular lesions require laser treatment?
Some of the vascular lesions that are treated with laser are telangiectasias or spider veins, port-wine stain birthmarks (vascular birthmark containing vessels), and strawberry hemangiomas (a kind of hemangioma). Leg veins with a width of up to 2 mm can also be eliminated. Abnormal blood vessels in the skin are common in these conditions. On the other hand, they all differ in severity. For instance, telangiectasias or broken blood vessels, most of the time, involve single vessels and are most of the time harmless. Port-wine stains are inclined to grow with patients who are usually infants. They are dark in color and if left untreated, these will never go away. Hemangiomas grow very quickly after birth but usually go away with time. However, there are some that may actually impair one’s vision or breathing and should be treated before they advance to this stage. In addition to this, targeting the rich vascular supply may be done in treating warts, red and raised scars, and inflammatory lesions like psoriasis.
What are the side effects of this treatment?
Vascular specific laser treatment, unlike other methods of treatment, significantly lessens the chances of scarring or changes in the skin temperature. However, some temporary discoloration of the skin surrounding the treated area may be experienced. This discoloration which is usually blue-gray is called purpura. They usually resolve in 5 to 7 days. On the other hand, purpura, when treating leg veins may last longer, approximately 7-14 days. A temporary brown discoloration of the skin may also be experienced depending on one’s skin type and the site and size of the lesion treated. They usually last for several weeks after the procedure. However, it is always temporary. The laser can be used with much less purpura although additional treatments may be needed. With the appropriate pre-operative and post-operative care, side effects oftentimes can be lessened.
Should certain precautions be taken after treatment?
It is important to take proper care in the first few days after the treatment. Application of an ice pack may be done in order to soothe the treated area. Application of a topical antibiotic cream or ointment may also be done. It is important that abrasive or harsh skin cleansers are avoided, as well as scrubbing of the area. In order to prevent abrasion of the treated area, a bandage or a patch may be utilized.
What are the other precautions that I should be aware of?
It is advisable that one should avoid exposing the site treated to the sun or at least cover the area by applying a sunblock that has been endorsed by your physician. Most favorable results are achieved with this treatment if one is not suntanned. Since pigment is closer to the surface of the skin than the blood vessels of a lesion, the pigment in tanned skin acts as a barrier which precludes the penetration of the laser light from reaching the lesion. For that reason, laser is most effective when used in lighter skin types.
Why is treatment with a laser safe and effective?
Because of the laser’s exceptional capacity to selectively treat the blood vessels of a vascular lesion without harming or damaging the surrounding tissue, it is considered very safe and effective. Because of this feature, many lesions are eliminated while keeping the surrounding skin undamaged. As a matter of fact, because it is known to be safe, infants, as young as a few weeks old, may undergo this procedure.