WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
The Aura/KTP laser produces green light at a wavelength of 532nm which is ideal for selectively targeting blood vessels under the skin. By harnessing a property of laser light called selective photothermolysis, the laser’s light energy shines through the skin harmlessly until it hits a red target (chromophore). On hitting the target, light energy is converted into heat energy selectively destroying the thread vein, broken capillary, spider naevus or telangiectasis that it has been aimed at.
Facial thread veins are very amenable to treatment as are spider naevi and the matted, broken capillaries seen on the cheeks, chin and nose in acne rosacea. Protective goggles are worn by patients and the treating physician to protect the eyes from laser light. The treatment starts with the lowest possible laser fluence (or power setting) and the power is incrementally increased until a sweet-spot is found when the vessels are seen to callapse with the minimum laser power. The vessels often spontaneously collapse during treatment but a greyish tinge may be left under the skin for a few weeks as the body cleans up the destroyed vessel. Several treatments may be necessary for densely matted thread veins on the face or legs. Sometimes a combination of injected sclerosant and laser treatment is necessary to make a significant impact on very densely matted or larger calibre leg veins.
HOW PAINFUL IS IT?
Treatment is relatively painless not requiring anything other than the cold tip of the laser to reduce discomfort. Our laser has a new innovation in the form of an integral chiller cart attached to it to maintain the treating tip at a cold enough temperature to provide adequate anaesthesia.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SURGERY?
Treated areas become temporarily pink or red but this settles over the first 48 hours. Immediately following treatment it is very important that the treated area is rested and prevented from vasodilatation in order to prevent the treated blood vessels from opening up again. This means that, if the face has been treated, patients should take it easy for the next 48 hrs avoiding hot baths, intensive exercise, saunas or steam rooms or anything else that would make the facial blood vessels engorge and the face turn pink or red. In addition to these precautions, patients having leg vein treatment should try to elevate their legs as much as possible and avoid prolonged periods of standing upright for the first three or four days. All patients undergoing laser therapy should stay out of sunlight as it is possible for the treated area to become patchily hyperpigmented – although scarring is almost unheard of. Usually any residuum of the treated vessels fades away over a six week period and it is possible to re-treat very densely matted areas on a two or three weekly basis. Patients undergoing treatment for facial rosacea should expect the cheek and lower eyelid skin to swell slightly after treatment. This area of skin is particularly delicate and any swelling encountered here is temporary in nature lasting at most two to three days