Facial capillaries, veins and rosacea can be effectively treated with a vascular laser. In many cases a Medicare rebate maybe claimed for visible facial veins.
Vascular lasers such as V Beam and Clearscan emit a beam of light that is highly absorptive in hemoglobin or blood. These lasers allow your dermatologist to precisely treat visible vessels, broken capillaries, spider veins, vascular lesions and discoloration of your skin by using laser energy. Your treatment will be tailored to match your vascular condition and desired result.
Lasers use a single wavelength of light to deliver energy to specific skin targets, whilst IPL- BBL uses a spectrum of light. Lasers are more precise, especially in treating larger more persistent capillaries and veins, BBL on the other hand is better suited for a combination of problems including fine blood vessels and pigmentation. The majority of skin types will have a mixture of reddened areas, blotchy areas, and blood vessels. Vascular laser is often combined with BBL for optimal results.
Laser light is absorbed in the blood that is flowing through the targeted vessel. The absorption converts light into heat energy, which raises the temperature of the blood. During the treatment, the heat generated from vascular laser coagulates the blood inside the vessel causing it to collapse and seal.
Vascular conditions, such as spider veins, broken capillaries and telangiectasia, are usually found on the face, thighs, legs, calves, and arms. Red birthmarks such as portwine stains can also be treated with laser.
V beam laser has a unique cooling spray that makes treatments quick, comfortable and almost painless. The vast majority of patients do not require any numbing cream, though we do give patients this option.
Your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. Laser light energy will be delivered precisely to the area of your skin being treated. You may briefly feel a warm sensation as the laserpulses are absorbed by the unwanted vessels. Your procedure may take a few minutes to half an hour depending on the size of the area to be treated.
The most common side effect is discoloration of the vein and bruising, or purpura (purplish discoloration), around the treated area. This will resolve within days after the treatment. Initially, you may have a “cat scratch” like appearance to the treated vessels for 1 – 2 days after the treatment. The treated area may be sensitive to the touch and feel as if there is a slight sun burn in that area. Most redness, swelling and sensitivity resolve within 2 – 3 days. Your dermatologist will answer questions about temporary changes on your skin color and how they may be camouflaged.
It is important to follow your dermatologist’s instructions. Your skin will be sensitive to light, and you must avoid direct sun exposure. You need to fully cover your treated skin and/or use sunblock with a minimum SPF of 30 whenever you go outdoors for at least a week or two following the treatment.
Some vessels may show visible disappearance immediately while other destroyed vessel’s response may be less visible or lighter in appearance. Laser vein treatment works by causing the unwanted vessel to collapse, and over a period of time, your body will slowly re-absorb that vessel, similar to a bruise healing. This process can take place over a period of several weeks.
Depending on the severity of the vascular condition, multiple treatments may be required. Improvement generally lasts for a number of years, but over time new veins will develop, requiring a touch-up treatment at a later date.
A Medicare rebate may apply for the treatment of capillaries by V Beam or Clearscan laser. There are certain criteria that must be met to qualify for a rebate e.g facial/neck capillaries must be visible from 3 metres. An example is for the treatment of broken capillaries/redness on the face; for those qualifying, there is a medicare rebate for each treatment. Upto 6 treatments can be claimed in one year.
Also treatments that attract a Medicare rebate also count towards the Medicare Safety Net. Once the threshold on the Medicare Safety Net is passed, 80% of the out-of-pocket fee is refunded to you by Medicare. Your Dermatologist will inform you whether you qualify for any rebate prior to treatments.
Another highly effective procedure which is commonly performed at Westside Dermatology is that of sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves injections of salt water into the vein wall. This in turn causes swelling of the vessel walls, eventually collapsing and ‘sealing’ the visible vessels. Sclerotherapy can be an effective treatment for blood vessels resistant to laser, and is ideal for leg veins.
BBL or Broad Band light can also be used to treat very fine facial veins, especially in areas associated with flushing. BBL uses a range of light wavelengths instead of a single wavelength of Vascular lasers. For conditions such as Rosacea, veins and flushing the operator chooses a filter suited to target blood vessels.
For best results, a number of modalities are utilised to treat facial redness, rosacea and facial veins. The cornerstone of management is to identify, avoid and treat any trigger factors, especially in rosacea patients. The use of a high factor SPF sunscreen is very important in all patients. For large diameter blood vessels, a combination of vascular laser and sclerotherapy is more effective than BBL/ IPL. For more diffuse redness as well as flushing/ blushing, BBL/ IPL treatment is the modality of choice. In the real world, many patients will exhibit both elements – that is visible and larger diameter blood vessels, as well as background redness, and hence a combination of treatments are most effective.