Laser vein treatment

Laser treatment for veins works by directing very strong bursts of light on to unwanted veins on your face and body that cause the vein to gradually fade and eventually disappear. Lasers are very direct and accurate and only affect the area being treated; as such they are a very safe treatment. However, be warned that not all skin types and colours can always be safely treated with lasers. A qualified cosmetic doctor, aesthetic nurse, dermatologist or vascular surgeon would be able to assess your suitability for this treatment. The treatment is usually very quick and can be likened to the sensation of being flicked with an elastic band. Alternatives to this treatment include sclerotherapy, microsclerotherapy and microwave treatment.


There are a variety of light systems on the market that are designed to treat visible veins. Ideal candidates for laser vein removal are those with spider or thread veins on the face or body, or varicose veins.

Before treatment

Your first discussion with a practitioner should clearly set out your expectations so that your practitioner can identify the correct laser vein removal treatment to achieve the results you require.

Treatment procedure

Lasers work by emitting a specialized light that is passed through the skin and preferentially absorbed by its target, in this case the hemoglobin (the red portion of blood) in the unwanted vessels. The laser vein treatment causes the vein to break up and disappear.

Most patients describe the sensation from laser vein treatment as feeling like a rubber band snap. Your vein doctor may give you a topical anesthetic cream to numb the area before a laser vein treatment. Any discomfort felt during the laser vein treatment procedure can be eased with the application of cool compresses. After a laser vein treatment, you can immediately return to normal activities. Laser vein treatment is a procedure that doesn't require any downtime; unlike other vein treatments may require some downtime.

During treatment a laser vein removal procedure involves the application of an anaesthetic cream 20 minutes prior to treatment to help numb the skin. You will then be required to wear eye protectors for all laser machines. Depending upon the type of light system used, you may experience a slight stinging sensation when the flash of light is delivered to the treated area. The entire procedure may last 15-30 minutes depending on the type and extent of the skin problem treated. 1 to 5 treatment sessions may be required for optimum results.

Treatment with endovenous laser therapy

Endovenous laser therapy works by means of thermal destruction of venous tissues. Endovenous techniques have largely replaced surgical vein stripping in many countries as the first-line treatment for saphenous incompetence.

Significant advances have occurred in the understanding, diagnosis, and management of venous insufficiency over the last decade or so, mostly owing to the use of duplex ultrasound (DUS) technology. An individualized treatment plan is developed based on the history and physical examination, findings of the consultation with a vein specialist, and goals of the patient.

Frequently asked questions?

How does IPL treat leg veins?

Highly controlled flashes of light are selectively absorbed by hemoglobin found in red blood cells in the veins. The absorbed light heats the hemoglobin, causing the blood to clot. The vein then collapses and is slowly removed by the body's natural filtering systems. As the laser is not absorbed by the skin around the veins, there is no scarring or visible marks left by the laser!

Image for IPL Treatment

Is laser therapy painful?

During your treatment, you will feel a slight tingling sensation as the laser fires. If the individual feels any pain, a topical local anesthetic is applied 20 minutes before the procedure.


Most patients will be able to return to work immediately following a laser vein removal procedure.


Treatment advantages

In a traditional surgical approach to vein removal, ligation and division of the saphenous trunk and all proximal tributaries is followed by stripping or by avulsion phlebectomy. All surgical vein treatment methods require in most cases several incisions and patient downtime. Proximal ligation requires an incision at the groin crease while stripping of the vein requires additional incisions at the knee or below the knee and is associated with a high prevalence of minor surgical complications. Other vein removal techniques such as avulsion phlebectomy require multiple small incisions along the course of the vein and can cause damage to adjacent nerves and lymphatic vessels.

Laser vein treatment is a less invasive alternative to vein stripping and other surgical rein removal techniques.

Laser vein treatment is a procedure that is performed in an office setting using dilute local anesthesia. Laser vein treatment and other minimally invasive vein treatment techniques, such as radiofrequency ablation and chemical ablation, are increasingly being used instead of surgery to treat incompetent segments of the great saphenous vein, small saphenous vein, anterior accessory saphenous vein, and perforators.

Results from laser vein treatment have been reported to be equal to or better than stripping, with better quality-of-life scores in the postoperative period. laser vein treatment has been shown to correct or significantly improve the hemodynamic abnormality in patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) with superficial venous reflux.

The development of lasers has allowed practitioners to treat spider or thread veins and varicose veins safely and effectively.

Summary of Patient benefits

  • closure of vascular structures
  • few side effects
  • treatment customization
  • speed and convenience
  • fast return to daily activities

Risks and complications

Depending on the type of light treatment used and what area of your body you are having treated, some mild stinging or burning may be noticed during the procedure, and the area treated may feel hot for around 15 minutes after treatment. Most patients will experience some skin redness in the treated area which will fade over the next hour or so. Post-treatment risks and side effects can include skin discoloration and scaling that usually fades over a period of weeks.

Treatment: Long term outcome

The laser vein treatment removes problematic veins, therefore eliminating all the problems associated with that vein. Laser vein treatment has a successful initial closure rate of 95-100%. The outcomes from this procedure are durable and persistent.

Once a patient has had laser vein treatment there is an important reported improvement in the patient's quality of life; additionally when comparing laser vein treatment with other vein treatment techniques such as litigation and stripping, results generally demonstrate equal or better outcomes with better quality of life in the postoperative period with laser vein treatment.

Laser vein treatment procedure may not erase all of the problematic veins in one session, but it can significantly reduce vein problems and greatly improve the appearance of the area treated.

It is important to know that the laser vein treatment procedure can help reduce the veins, but cannot prevent the new vein problems from arising. For severe cases more than one session may be required.

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