Vein Treatment

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Laser Vein Treatment

Recovery Timeframes After Laser Vein Treatment

Laser treatment offers a popular minimally invasive option for eliminating spider veins and varicose veins. But how long do recovery side effects like bruising tenderness last post-procedure? This article shows how long it takes to recover from laser vein treatment, procedure, benefits 

First, what happens during laser vein removal itself? A vascular surgeon targets diseased veins with highly focused laser light through the skin’s surface. The heat painlessly damages the vein walls. The destroyed vein then seals shut and gets absorbed and flushed away by the body over time. Blood flow reroutes to healthier veins instead. This walk-in walk-out procedure only takes 15-20 minutes to treat a single leg. Tiny incisions admit the slim laser fiber into large varicose veins before treatment. Spider veins resolve without any incisions using a laser flash on the skin’s surface.

Why are Laser Vein Treatments Required?

Laser vein treatment, also known as laser ablation, is sometimes required to treat visible veins, often on the legs. Here is some key information about why it may be needed:

  • Visible twisted or enlarged veins, commonly called varicose veins, happen when the valves inside veins that normally channel blood to the heart stop working properly. Blood then collects or “pools” in the veins.
  • Varicose veins can cause symptoms like aching, pain, burning sensations, muscle cramping, and swelling of the ankles or lower legs. They may also appear dark purple or blue and twisted or bulging.
  • Laser vein treatment is considered when varicose veins become painful or cause too many uncomfortable symptoms. Leaving them untreated means the veins and symptoms will usually continue progressing.
  • Laser treatment helps eliminate varicose veins by sealing the affected veins shut. A laser fiber delivers short bursts of heat inside the vein, causing it to collapse and be reabsorbed by the body. Blood then reroutes to healthier veins.
  • It is an outpatient procedure done under local anesthesia that provides relief from symptoms once the problem veins are removed. More varicose veins may still develop over time, but the same treatment can address them.

Laser ablation is often needed as a minimally invasive way to alleviate painful or uncomfortable varicose veins when they start significantly impacting a person’s normal daily activities. Let me know if you need any other specifics about varicose vein treatment options.

Types Of Laser Vein Treatment?

The main types of laser treatments used for varicose veins include:

  1. Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA): This is the most common type. A small catheter is inserted into the varicose vein and delivers laser energy to the vein wall, causing it to collapse and seal shut. Blood gets rerouted to healthier veins.
  2. Endovenous Laser Procedure (EVP): Very similar to EVLA but using lower laser energy. It may cause less pain and bruising but has a slightly higher recurrence rate of varicose veins.
  3. Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy (TIPP): Sometimes combined with EVLA/EVP. Once the main varicose vein is closed, smaller varicose tributaries and branches are directly treated through micro incisions using an illuminating laser tip followed by suction removal.
  4. Laser Mechanical Ablation: Combines direct laser ablation of varicose veins with mechanical scraping or suctioning using a rotating tip guided by ultrasound imaging. Allows a very targeted approach.
  5. Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL): Not strictly a laser but flashes intense broadband light at veins. Mainly used to reduce spider veins and small superficial varicose veins as well as alleviate redness and inflammation. Often requires multiple sessions for desired results.

The type used will depend on the specific case. Many clinics will utilize a combination of laser ablation for main trunk veins along with procedures like TIPP or IPL for tributaries and spider veins for optimal overall improvement.

Procedure Of Laser Vein Treatment

Laser vein treatment, also called laser endovenous ablation, is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. Here is a general overview of the procedure:

Before the Procedure

  • No special preparation is required beforehand. You can eat and drink normally.
  • Your doctor will mark the problem veins to be treated.

During the Procedure

  1. You lie on your back with the leg containing the problem vein propped up.
  2. Using ultrasound guidance, the doctor inserts a thin laser fiber into the vein through a small incision. Local anesthesia is applied where the catheter is inserted.
  3. As the doctor pulls the laser fiber back out, pulses from the laser are released inside the vein, heating the vessel walls. This causes collagen to form, effectively sealing the vein shut.
  4. The sealed vein eventually gets absorbed by the body and redirects blood flow through healthier veins. Blood flow is restored immediately.

After the Procedure

  • A compression stocking may be worn for 1-2 weeks to aid healing.
  • Tenderness, bruising, and tingling may occur and resolve within a few weeks.
  • Normal activity can be resumed quickly, sometimes on the same day.
  • Additional treatments may be done for the remaining problematic veins.

The whole appointment usually lasts 30-60 minutes. Success rates are over 95% and symptoms are typically significantly improved.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Laser Vein Treatment

Patients want to return to normal life ASAP after any medical procedure. So what recovery demands should you expect after laser vein treatment?

Immediately After

You can walk and leave the office just fine immediately post-op. The leg gets wrapped with compression bandages to encourage proper healing for about a week. Early restrictions involve:

  • Elevating the leg for 24 hours
  • Avoiding strenuous activity for 2 days

Expect to feel minimal pain, though some ache similar to a bruise. Use over-the-counter meds as recommended by your doctor to stay comfortable. Soreness should resolve after a week.

After the First Week

During your one-week follow-up appointment, your doctor removes dressings to check the treated veins. Most side effects like bruising and tenderness should start fading. Review post-op activity instructions:

    • compression stocking use for another week
    • avoiding hot tubs/swimming pools for 1-2 weeks
    • easing back into exercise based on doctor’s advice

Bruises normally disappear in 10-14 days as your body reabsorbs destroyed vein tissues. But some types of laser vein treatment lead to brownish skin staining for a few weeks as the demolished veins clear. Extreme cases could last months.

2-6 Week Mark

Expect treated spider and varicose veins to be less visible by 2 weeks. Small spider veins fade fastest, often resolving by 3 weeks post-op.

Your doctor will OK resuming all normal activities after large varicose veins show proper healing by 6 weeks. Though destroyed veins should no longer bulge, the surrounding inflammation may keep them faintly visible short-term. But leg appearance and circulation should show significant improvements.

Cost Of Laser Vein Treatment?

The cost of laser vein treatment can vary considerably depending on the extent of veins being treated, the geographical location, and other factors. However, here is some general information on the typical costs:

  • For minimal varicose veins, treating just one leg can range from $300 to $600. Treating both legs for minimal veins usually costs $600 to $1,200 in total.
  • For moderate varicose veins cases, prices may range from $1,000 to $3,000 total. Moderate cases involve greater vein surface area and a longer procedure time.
  • Severe vein cases often cost between $3,000 to $6,000 in total when numerous areas on both legs require treatment.
  • Factors like your city and the clinic/provider you choose can make prices differ significantly. Academic hospitals or major health centers usually charge higher prices.
  • Unlike other varicose vein procedures, laser treatment is usually not covered by medical insurance since it is considered cosmetic. However, financing plans are available.

So in general, $600 to $1,200 is typical for mild cases that only need one leg treated. But costs for more extensive varicose veins removal affecting both legs and greater areas can ultimately range between $3,000 to $6,000 based on severity. Many vein clinics also offer free consultations to provide accurate price quotes. Let me know if you have any other cost-related questions!

Benefits of Laser Vein Treatment

Here are some of the main benefits of laser vein treatment:

  1. Minimally invasive. Because laser treatment is less invasive than traditional vein stripping surgery, no incisions are needed. This means less pain, bleeding, scarring, or need for general anesthesia.
  2. More precise. The laser allows doctors to target diseased veins very accurately without damaging surrounding healthy tissues. This precision results in faster healing.
  3. Faster recovery. Most patients can return to their normal routines immediately after treatment or within 1-2 days. Activities are not restricted and compression stockings for more than a couple weeks are not required.
  4. Improved appearance. Eliminating bulging, twisted varicose veins and spider veins results in a better leg appearance. Improvements are visible right away. Over time, symptoms like pain, burning, and inflammation also fade.
  5. Fewer complications. There is less risk of infection, nerve injury, or other issues compared to vein stripping methods. Side effects like bruising or numbness are temporary. Blood clots are very rare.
  6. High success rates. Laser vein treatments successfully seal faulty veins in over 95% of cases when performed by an experienced doctor. Years after treatment, varicose veins rarely reoccur. If they do, retreatment is straightforward.

Laser treatment offers an effective way to erase unsightly superficial veins conveniently, safely, and with little downtime. Patients are often very pleased with the cosmetic improvement as well as symptom relief in their legs.

Complications After Laser Vein Treatment

About 5% of patients experience minor complications like:

  • Bleeding from tiny treatment wounds
  • Infection
  • Accumulation of fluid
  • Excess bruising

Rarely, some patients develop deep vein thrombosis clots.

Call your doctor immediately about:

  • Uncontrolled swelling
  • Pus or red streaking
  • Calf warmth and severe tenderness could signal a blood clot

Left untreated, clots allow deadly travel to the heart and lungs.

Precaution After Laser Vein Treatments

Here are some of the key precautions recommended after laser vein treatments:

  1. Wear compression stockings continuously for 2-6 weeks after the procedure as directed by your doctor. The compression helps minimize bruising and inflammation and aids proper healing.
  2. Avoid high-impact physical activities for at least 2 weeks post-procedure. This includes activities like running, weight lifting, aerobics, and more which can disrupt the treated veins. Light walking is generally ok.
  3. Keep the treated leg(s) elevated whenever possible for the first week to reduce swelling and discomfort. Pillows can help prop your legs up when sitting or lying down. Getting plenty of rest is encouraged.
  4. Take over-the-counter pain medications as recommended by your doctor to relieve any pain, inflammation, or cramping. Pain should subside within 7-10 days.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol for 48 hours, and do not smoke during initial recovery. This helps you heal faster.
  6. Avoid sun exposure or tanning beds on treated veins for 4-6 weeks as they may be more prone to sun damage during healing. Use sunscreen when outdoors.

Let your doctor know right away if you have bleeding, pus, redness, blood clots, or moderate bruising spreading from the treated veins. Carefully following postoperative precautions ensures proper healing. Let me know if you have any other questions!

FAQs

How long is the recovery time after laser vein treatment?

The recovery time is usually around 1-2 weeks. You’ll have some swelling, bruising, and tenderness for 7-14 days after the treatment. Using compression stockings according to your doctor’s instructions will help minimize these symptoms.

When can I return to normal activities after treatment?

It’s ideal to take it easy for the first 2-3 days to allow initial healing. After that, going back to desk work or light daily routines is fine as long as there’s no strenuous activity. You should be back to your normal activity level within 7-10 days in most cases.

When will my veins show improvement after laser treatment?

It takes about 1-2 months to see the full results from laser vein treatments. Some veins reabsorb right away, while others fade over several weeks as they slowly heal from the inside out. Follow-up appointments allow tracking of gradual improvements.

How long do I need to wear compression stockings after treatment?

Most patients must wear medical grade 20-30 mmHg compression stockings for at least 2 full weeks after laser vein procedures. Your doctor will evaluate at follow-ups whether additional stocking weeks may be recommended based on your unique healing needs.

Is it normal to have leg pain or cramps after treatment?

Some mild leg cramping or discomfort is common in the first week post-op as the treated veins heal. Over-the-counter pain relievers, frequent stretching, and proper compression stockings typically resolve any pain within 7-10 days. Inform your doctor about severe or ongoing discomfort.

Last Words

While laser treatments boast less downtime than vein stripping surgery, healing damaged blood vessels still takes weeks to months until circulation restores to optimal function. How quickly residual swelling, stinging, bruises, and visible veins fade depends on each patient. Discuss smart post-procedure self-care under doctor’s orders. Compression stockings for 4-6 weeks, inflammation meds, cold therapy, and lots of elevation minimize recovery time. Work restrictions and activity limitations also guard against complications while the body rebuilds circulation networks over time. Set realistic expectations for healing milestones during the post-op weeks before enjoying successful results from minimally invasive laser vein repair long-term.

Selina

My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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