WHAT ARE VASCULAR LESIONS?
A “vascular lesion” is an abnormally dilated or inflamed blood vessel resulting from the pooling of blood in the vein due to weakened valves that prevent the proper movement of blood back to the heart. These are commonly visible through the surface of the skin, usually on the legs and face. Many people who suffer from vascular lesions do not suffer any discomfort or medical symptoms, but feel that they detract from the appearance of smooth, shapely legs and otherwise healthy skin. For others, vascular lesions can be uncomfortable and even painful. The most common forms of vascular legions are:
- Varicose Veins: blue or purple veins that appear large, twisted, and swollen underneath the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are typically seen on the legs, resulting from increased pressure on the veins in the lower extremities, as well as diminishing vein elasticity, which can worsen over time, causing the venous valves to stretch and weaken. A predisposition to varicose veins can be genetic; they are also common among pregnant women and individuals who stand for extended periods of time.
- Spider Veins: otherwise known as telangiectasia or venulectasias, spider veins are small, intertwined groups of tiny blood vessels and capillaries just below the skin’s surface. They are seen through the skin as red, blue or purple vein patterns on the thighs, lower legs and face. They are commonly called “spider veins” because they give a pattern resembling that of a spider web or tree branch.
- Rosacea: a skin inflammation with symptoms that include dilated blood vessels, redness, and acne. Rosacea can be aggravated by external factors that contribute to dilation of the blood vessels (vasodilation), such as: caffeine, alcohol, extreme temperatures, sun exposure, heat, and spicy foods.
At Gentle Touch Aesthetics and Wellness in Los Gatos, California, our medical staff understand both the aesthetic and medical consequences of vascular legions and how they can impact daily life and self-esteem. They believe in coupling high-quality, effective medical care with warm, compassionate holistic treatment options designed to treat the problem at the source instead of on the surface. The medical staff at Gentle Touch Aesthetics and Wellness will customize your vascular treatment to ensure that it gets to the root of the problem, designed to restore both your appearance and your self-confidence!
VASCULAR TREATMENT OPTIONS
Up until a few years ago, the primary method of treating vascular lesions was by surgically removing the afflicted veins. Sometimes referred to as “vein stripping”, this surgery involved making small cuts near the varicose vein, tying the vein shut or sealing it with a surgical device attached at an endoscopic camera, and removing the vein through the skin. While this surgery may still be required to treat very severe cases of varicose veins, especially if the varicose veins are causing skin ulcers, in most cases, minimally-invasive energy-based procedures can eliminate most symptoms of vascular legions.
Energy-based treatments utilize light (laser) or radiofrequency energy to heat the vein. The heat either causes the formation of scar tissue or collapses the vein, both effective ways of sealing it without damaging surrounding tissue. Once the vein is sealed, blood finds new pathways through healthy veins, and the vessel dies. Once it dies, it is naturally reabsorbed by the body. Laser and radiofrequency treatments can work on both large varicose veins and smaller spider veins anywhere on the body, including the face; both procedures can be performed in the office, and may only require a local anesthesia or mild sedative if the procedure requires use of a catheter to deliver the energy directly to larger varicose veins. These treatments are minimally-invasive, and patients can return to their normal activities almost immediately. However, multiple sessions are generally required for optimal results.
Sclerotherapy is another possible alternative for the treatment of smaller, less severe cases of varicose and spider veins. In this procedure, a liquid chemical is injected into the vein using a very fine needle. The chemical irritates the vein, causing the development of scar tissue which seals the vein and causes it to die and be reabsorbed. Multiple treatments are usually required every 4-6 weeks for full effect.