Light Therapy for Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can be an unsightly and potentially embarrassing condition. They are something that most of us will have to deal with as we age. While varicose veins do not pose a health risk, they can hurt your self-image. Luckily, a treatment called high intensity pulsed light therapy (IPL), which uses emissions of light to shrink varicose veins, is an effective and safe way to treat the condition.
IPL works by using pulsed light to destroy varicose veins. IPL is more efficient than laser therapy because it can penetrate deeper into the skin. Once the light passes through the skin, the pigment in your blood will absorb it. The pigment will then utilize the light to injure the lining of the blood vessel that is causing the varicose vein. Meanwhile, surrounding tissue and skin is not harmed because only one blood vessel is targeted in the therapy. Once inside the blood vessel, the heat from IPL thickens the blood inside the vessel. It will then collapse and close up, and over the next few weeks the body will absorb the collapsed vein, removing the varicose vein. In most cases, it will take two to four sessions for IPL to be completely effective.
After you seek at a doctor for IPL, he will first need to determine if you are a good candidate for the therapy. If you are susceptible to keloid scars, have dark skin or are pregnant, your doctor will probably not recommend IPL for you and suggest you seek out alternative treatment. Before your first treatment, your doctor will administer a spot test on a small section of skin to check your tolerance. If you do not have a negative reaction, your doctor will recommend proceeding to full treatment. Before your procedure, you will want to avoid taking aspirin or drinking alcohol since these substances thin the blood and will interfere with the efficacy of IPL.
IPL treatments last from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the vein and the size of the area being treated. The procedure is relatively painless though you may feel a sensation like you’ve been snapped with a rubber band. Some doctors will apply a numbing gel before the procedure. There will be very few effects after the therapy except maybe a bump that will go away in a few hours. Some people may also feel tender or bruised at the site for the next few days.