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Laser Vein and Brown Spot Treatment

KTP Laser

For the past eight years, we have used the KTP Laser for the treatment of dilated facial or body vessels and superficial black or brown spots anywhere on the body. A gentler treatment than many lasers, the KTP laser rarely produces bruising.

The KTP laser is adjustable to emit a beam of green or yellow light, which are absorbed selectively by specific colors. The energy is absorbed by red, brown, or black coloring, and converted to heat. Other colors, including lighter skin tones, reflect the light preventing tissue damage. Darker colors absorb the energy more readily, so even dark skinned individuals will see good results if the lesion is darker than the natural skin color.

After treatment, brown spots tend to darken initially, and then fall off in one or two weeks. Treated blood vessels disappear and generally do not return. However, some vessels will reopen after a few days, and subsequent sessions will be needed to achieve optimal results.

Sciton Profile Dual Nd:YAG Laser

For a number of years we have been able to treat facial blood vessels, freckles and other sun-induced pigmentation, wrinkles, and tattoos using our KTP and Nd:YAG lasers. However, although hair and leg vein removal lasers have been marketed for a number of years, we had never been convinced that there was one available that had been well tested and had been shown to produce results that would satisfy us, as well as our patients.

Now, with the development of the Sciton Leg Vein Laser for removal of hair & leg veins, laser vein removal has advanced to a point at which we are comfortable offering this cost-effective treatment to our patients. The purpose of the information presented here is to help you understand the nature of this major advance in laser hair removal and leg vein removal.

How does the Sciton Leg Vein Laser remove leg veins?
The Sciton Leg Vein Laser produces an intense localized pulse of light of a wavelength that is preferentially absorbed by the pigment, or color, in the hair root or the blood vessel. This specific laser wavelength was selected after there was considerable experience using lasers of other wavelengths for vein removal. After the shortcomings of the earlier approaches became evident, a wavelength was chosen that is able to pass safely through all colors of skin, without being significantly absorbed by other skin structures. However, the light of this wavelength is still able to penetrate deeply enough so that it is absorbed by the pigment in the red blood cells in the blood vessels. The laser energy passes through the sapphire cooling plate, which allows computer controlled temperature adjustment, to protect the skin from damage and minimize patient discomfort. Each light pulse lasts for only several thousandths of a second, so the energy from the beam is almost completely absorbed by the red cells in the vein, without significant spread to the surrounding tissue. The veins are heated and form clots resulting in closure and gradual reabsorption of the vein.

Because our Sciton Leg Vein Laser utilizes an adjustable energy beam, it is versatile enough to be used on different sizes of veins, although it is most commonly used for smaller veins. The Sciton Leg Vein Laser can be used anywhere on the body, except around the eyes, and treatment can almost always be performed without anesthesia. Smaller leg veins respond with minimal discomfort. With larger leg veins, which absorb more energy, the sensation is similar to the snap of a rubber band. Because of the unique design and flexibility of the system and its hand piece, we can customize treatment according to your skin color and the size and depth of your veins. In just a few treatment sessions, the appearance of your skin can be permanently improved.

How does the Sciton Leg Vein Laser differ from the earlier vein removal systems?
Almost all of the older laser systems had relatively short wavelengths, 694 to 810 nanometers, which, under the right conditions, can produce good results. However, because the wavelength of light is shorter, the light is scattered more within the skin and is mostly absorbed in the upper most portion of the skin. This may result in insufficient energy reaching the veins. These short wavelength lasers can be difficult or impossible to use safely on people with dark or tanned skin.

However, the Sciton Leg Vein Laser utilizes a long (1064 nanometers) wavelength, which allows the energy to reach deep veins. It is safe and effective for all skin types and skin colors, even heavily pigmented skin. Because the Sciton Leg Vein Laser is highly adjustable, the technician can customize the duration and strength of treatment for each patient. The device design allows the operator a clear view of the treatment area, for greater safety and more precise results.

Am I a good candidate for California laser vein removal?
Light-skinned individuals with dark veins respond best to this treatment, because pigmentation in dark skin tends to compete with the vein for absorption of laser energy, which has the potential to cause skin damage. Currently, the Sciton Leg Vein Laser is the safest option for treating darker skin, because the unique sapphire cooling plate protects the skin, while the long wavelength minimizes energy scatter. However, it is important to avoid tanning before and after laser treatment.

What results can be expected from vein treatment?
In many people, a significant reduction in small leg veins can be seen after a single treatment. It is best to wait approximately six months before final evaluation of the procedure.

How many treatments are needed?
Depending on the size of the vein and other factors, you may need several sessions, scheduled at monthly intervals, to achieve optimal results.

What areas of the body can be treated?
Due to the exceptionally safe lasers that we use, virtually any area, except around the eyes, can be treated. The Sciton laser is typically used for leg veins, while the KTP laser is generally used for facial veins and spots.

What are the advantages of laser vein removal compared to alternative treatments?
The Sciton Leg Vein Laser is a precision instrument that can be adjusted to the exact parameters that will specifically destroy the blood vessel. The removal of leg spider veins is most commonly performed by the injection of a sclerosing solution. For most individuals, this will remain the primary modality of treatment. The Sciton Leg Vein Laser can treat both spider veins and larger vessels, and thus is useful in situations where the injection of sclerosing solution is not desired or is inadvisable. An important advantage of this laser is that it can treat spider veins that are too small to be injected. Although the use of lasers in the treatment of leg veins is still in its infancy, it seems unlikely to produce significant ulceration, which is an occasional side effect seen with the injection of sclerosing solution. Veins that do not reopen within one to two months following treatment may be considered permanently destroyed. No vein treatment will prevent new vessels developing in the future, but treatment of the deeper, reticular veins will reduce the number of new vessels that develop.

What risks are associated with laser vein treatment?
Initially, you may notice some redness or swelling in the treatment area, which usually fades within a few hours. In rare cases, blistering or scarring is possible. Individuals with herpes simplex virus may experience a flare in response to any kind of skin injury, but appropriate medication can usually prevent this. Dark skinned individuals have the greatest risk of discoloration, but the Sciton appears to be the best treatment to minimize this risk. It should be noted that other vein removal methods such as sclerotherapy could produce some similar adverse effects. The KTP laser is especially gentle, and rarely causes bruising.

What type of care and precautions are required after the laser treatment?
Most patients experience no noticeable aftereffects following treatment. Avoid irritants such as abrasive cleansers or topical acne preparations. Creams, such as Cetaphil Cream, may shorten the duration of any pinkness, and cold packs can be used to control any swelling. Long-term sun protection is important with the use of clothing as well as sunscreens with high protection against ultraviolet A rays. The best sunscreens for this purpose are available in our office.

Why should you choose California Skin & Laser Center for your laser vein removal?
The California Skin & Laser Center team wants you to feel that your needs and concerns have been addressed promptly, in a caring and sensitive fashion and to have an excellent outcome. All treatments are performed or supervised by a board-certified dermatologist who has many years of successful experience in a wide variety of aesthetic procedures. Many treatment options are available, and we will happily recommend the ones that are most likely to meet your needs; we are here to help you achieve your goals in the most comfortable, cost-effective, convenient way possible. At our offices in Stockton and Lodi, CA, we serve communities throughout San Joaquin County and the Central Valley, including Tracy, Sacramento, Valley Springs, Manteca, Modesto, Galt, and even the San Francisco Bay Area.
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