Superficial laser treatments can be very effective, and are often used for veins too small to inject. New technology in laser treatments can effectively treat spider veins in the legs. Laser surgery sends bursts of light energy into the vein. Different wavelengths of laser energy are attracted to different mediums, and we prefer a laser frequency that has good affinity for blood. As the light energy traverses the vein, it causes the same kind of damage to the vein walls as injections, and causes the vein to slowly shrivel and disappear over time. Lasers are very direct and accurate when used by a skilled operator. Most skin types and colors can be safely treated with lasers.
Laser surgery is more appealing to some patients because it does not use needles or incisions. Still, when the laser hits the skin, the patient feels a heat sensation that can be quite painful. Cooling helps reduce the pain. Laser treatments last for 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the severity of the veins, two to five treatments are generally needed to remove spider veins in the legs. Patients can return to normal activity after treatment, just as with sclerotherapy. Some form of compression (compression stockings) is required for the first week following spider vein treatment. Stockings are also available at The Advanced Vein & Vascular Center, Inc. For spider veins larger than 3 mm, laser therapy is not very practical.