Q: How does the Candela V Beam work?
A: The Candela V Beam produces an intense but gentle burst of light that selectively destroys the blood vessels of your spider veins, without damaging the surrounding tissue. After laser treatment the surrounding tissue is left intact.
Q: Are there other ways to treat my vascular lesions?
A: For leg spider veins, some patients have received Sclerotherapy. This mode of therapy has been very effective in the past but can cause hyperpigmentation or pigment discoloration from 6 weeks to 24 months. Also, this mode of therapy can be painful and uncomfortable postoperatively, requiring specific care. For other types of vascular lesions, such as Port Wine Stain birthmarks, stretch marks, scars, facial spider veins, or warts, some patients have tried surgery, electrocautery, cryotherapy (freezing the area) or tattooing. These procedures often result in scarring or may leave an unsatisfactory result. Other lasers such as the Ruby Laser, Argon Laser, and CO2 Laser have also been used to treat vascular lesions. These lasers are not as specific to the destruction of the blood vessels in the vascular lesions and have resulted in scarring in many individuals. Because of the chance of scarring, the use of these lasers in infants and young children is not recommended. If you have been treated by other modalities which resulted in scarring or loss of pigment, the lesion may not respond as well with the Candela Laser therapy. The scarring or loss of pigment may become more evident after the treatment with the V Beam.
Q: Are there any reasons that would not make me a candidate for V Beam therapy?
A: The Candela V Beam is not recommended for patients who are darkly pigmented. Because of the increase in skin pigment the laser will be less effective on damaging the blood vessels of spider veins or other vascular lesion to be treated. The depth of penetration of the Candela V Beam is limited to vessels about 1.5 mm in depth. Therefore, vessels deeper than this may not respond to the therapy. Additionally, blue vessels may not respond as well as red ones.
Q: What should I expect from this laser treatment?
A: Treatment with the V Beam may consist of multiple treatments. For facial veins, one treatment may be sufficient for clearance but a second treatment is recommended for best results. These treatments occur on an average of every four to twelve weeks. Each individual situation may vary and it is best to discuss yours with your provider. The type of vascular lesion to be treated will determine the number of treatments needed. The red veins respond better than blue veins and the smaller, matting vessels will respond sooner than the vessels up to 1.5 mm in size. Port wine stain lesions have more vessels to be treated and require multiple treatments but the number of treatments is unknown in advance.
Q: Are there any adverse effects?
A: With any laser therapy there is a possibility for adverse effects. The following are adverse effects that may occur with the Candela V Beam: 1) The treated area may hyperpigment, or appear darker after the bruising/red discoloration heals. Normal skin color usually returns within 6 months after laser therapy. 2) Scarring is a risk with the use of any laser. The Candela V Beam has had no reported incidence of scarring. If the post treatment skin care instructions are not followed, this can increase the chance of scarring. 3) The treated area may show a slight depression after the laser treatments. This depression usually resolves within a few months.
Q: Will the laser treatment hurt?
A: The DCD (Dynamic Cooling Device) which is built into the laser system delivers a short burst of spray of cryogen just prior to the laser pulse being delivered. The DCD has been instrumental in reducing pain associated with treatment, as well as reducing the possibility of blister/scab formation. In some instances, a topical cream anesthetic or local injection can be used if requested. The feeling of a laser pulse has been described as being snapped by a rubber band or slight stinging sensation. Following laser treatment, the area may continue to sting slightly or feel warm like a sunburn. If a large area is to be treated, anesthesia may be used. A small test area can be performed before the entire area is treated to evaluate your pain tolerance. Most patients tolerate this procedure without any need for anesthesia. Applying ice packs post-operatively can alleviate any discomfort experienced during the procedure.
Q: How long will the laser treatment last?
A: The duration of your laser treatment depends on the size of the area you wish to have treated or the time allowed by the provider performing your treatment. You will need to discuss this with your provider.