How Does Intense Pulse Light Therapy Work? - 1

Updated on: August 18, 2014

Spider veins may be a nuisance to many individuals in the Charleston, Illinois area as well as in other parts of the country. They may not appear as bulging from the skin like varicose veins, and spider veins may not be associated with any pain or heaviness, but they may be just as troubling for many who are suffering from them. Fortunately, there are several minimally-invasive treatment options now available that may provide relief from this venous condition. Intense pulse light therapy is one such treatment that utilizes controlled levels of light energy pulses that work to close the problem veins so that blood no longer flows through them, effectively getting rid of the veins.

The light energy selectively targets and damages or destroys the problem veins. This procedure may be better than laser treatments for treating vascular lesions that are located slightly deeper under the skin. Intense pulse light therapy may be encouraged by the vein specialist if sclerotherapy or laser treatment is not effective in treating the superficial vein. About two to four treatment sessions with IPL may be required to reach optimal results.

In addition to spider veins, reticular veins may also be treated with intense pulse light therapy. Other conditions that may be treated with intense pulse light therapy include broken or dilated vessels, skin imperfections such as sun damage or age spots, certain birth marks, acne Rosacea, cherry hemangiomas, and freckles. IPL may be used to treat spider or reticular veins that are located on the face, arms, legs, back, thighs, abdomen and ankles.

It is important to discuss one's candidacy for treatment with a Charleston vein specialist prior to receiving it. Those who may be considered the best candidates for treatment include individuals who are in good overall health, have fair skin, do not smoke, are mentally stable, wishes to improve their appearance, does not have a disease of the blood vessels or a problem bleeding, and goes into the treatment with reasonable expectations of the results. Individuals not considered good candidates for this procedure include those taking Accutane or who have recently taken this medicine, have keloid scarring, are pregnant, have severe/unusual scars, have been tanning recently or have acute sun burn, have acute onset acne, have dark skin, are taking blood thinners and who have had skin resurfacing disorders.

IPL generates light to pierce the skin and penetrate the superficial blood vessel. The heat that is produced by the light will coagulate the blood in the vessel, which causes it to collapse and seal shut. The vessel eventually disappears and the blood is removed through the body's natural processes and scavenging cells. New light treatment methods allow for the precise dosage of energy to the blood vessel so that nearby structures are not harmed by the treatment. The treatment may feel like a pinch to the patient as they receive the treatment. A chilled gel or topical anesthetic may be used to avoid discomfort. Each session may take about 15 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the treatment area and the severity of the condition.

Possible side effects may include bruising, redness, swelling and blisters, although these typically resolve over the next few days. Patients may use ice packs to minimize any pain and swelling experienced after treatment. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities and return to work immediately after the treatment. The cost of treatment may range from $200 to $400 per session, and is not covered by insurance as it is considered a cosmetic treatment to treat spider veins that are not of a medical concern.

Learn more about intense pulse light therapy in Charleston, Illinois.

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