Cosmetic treatments for veins
If you have varicose veins or spider veins, you might benefit from the advanced vein treatments available to patients today. A variety of advanced techniques are being used, some of which involve no pain, down time or anesthesia. For example, laser treatments can correct the appearance of unusual facial veins without any intrusion beneath the surface of the skin. Vein surgery can also be used to correct medical problems like deep vein thrombosis.
Some conditions require vein removal, which is, by its very nature, more invasive. If you're unhappy with the appearance of your legs, your first step should be to obtain a referral to a specialist who can introduce you to the various treatments available.
The Cost of Cosmetic Vein Therapy
Because doctors use many different techniques to treat veins, costs range considerably. If you need only minor treatments that can be accomplished with lasers or simple injections, you might pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 or so. If you require something more involved, such as leg vein removal, you should expect your costs to increase significantly. Once you factor in facility fees, surgeons' fees and anesthesiologist fees, you're probably looking at $4,000 to $10,000 or more. Compare prices by contacting multiple vein clinics.
The first step in patient evaluation is an assessment of your medical history. Your surgeon will give you a questionnaire to complete, and will ask follow-up questions to ensure you make a good candidate. If you have a history of circulatory system problems, conditions that can lead to blood clotting or substandard overall health, your surgeon may recommend that you avoid more invasive procedures.
Skin-based laser treatments may affect skin pigmentation, so Caucasians and other light-skinned individuals have historically made the best candidates. However, with advancements continuing to improve laser treatments all the time, it is becoming a more and more reliable option for patients of all ethnic backgrounds.
Vein Treatment Procedures
Leg vein treatment techniques include sclerotherapy, endovenous laser and radiofrequency closure, and surgery. Sclerotherapy uses injections to cause varicose veins to collapse and close, laser treatments apply heat to problem veins, causing them to close off, and surgical interventions include ligation (leg vein closure) and stripping (leg vein removal).
Similar techniques are used on unsightly spider veins in other areas of the body, though laser surgery on veins is generally favored for use on the face or neck, given that other techniques increase the possibility of scarring. Solving one problem by creating another is not a risk many patients are willing to take.
The Risks of Vein Treatments
You'll face differing risks, depending on the treatment technique your doctor chooses. Here is an overview of the risks associated with each of the three main vein treatment techniques:
- Sclerotherapy risks include cramps, blood clots, pigmentation irregularities, allergic reactions to the medications used in sclerotherapy, and scarring. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not be treated with this technique, nor should individuals with HIV/AIDS, heart conditions, circulatory problems, hepatitis or diabetes.
- Endovenous laser and radiofrequency closure risks include bruising, blood clotting and pain in the affected area. Temporary and permanent changes in skin pigmentation have been seen in other cosmetic laser treatments, and these risks are present to some degree in laser vein treatment therapies, too.
- Risks of vein ligation or stripping surgery include reactions to the anesthetic, scarring, inadequate healing of the affected area, blood clotting, internal or external bleeding and infection. Your doctor will discuss the risks in detail with you before you consent to surgery.
Recovery from Surgical Treatments
Most laser vein treatments are performed on an outpatient basis, and you will probably not experience any significant downtime during recovery. Most patients only need to take over-the-counter medications for the management of minor pain in the treated area.
With sclerotherapy, you should avoid shaving, waxing or applying creams to your legs for 24 to 48 hours in advance of the procedure. Don't suntan or immerse your legs in hot water after your treatment, as this will make your blood vessels dilate, potentially causing problems. Your doctor will provide you with more specific instructions, depending on the extent of your treatment.
If you have surgery, you should book time off work. While you should keep your legs' workload light, modest activity is usually recommended to keep your blood circulating. Normally, it takes about two weeks for the acute effects of surgery to resolve, though you may not make a full and complete recovery for six weeks or more.