What is the Vbeam laser and why is it safe? [page top]
The Vbeam Laser produces an intense but gentle burst of light that selectively destroys the blood vessels of your spider veins or other vascular lesions, without damaging the surrounding tissue. After laser treatment the surrounding tissue is left intact and normal pigmentation occurs. In fact, pulsed dye laser treatment is so safe that it has been used successfully for the treatment of port wine stains in infants and young children. The epidermis is protected during the treatment with the Dynamic Cooling Device, which sprays a cooling cryogen mist onto the skin before each laser pulse, which also increases patient comfort.
How does the Vbeam help improve the look of scars and stretch marks? [page top]
There is no current method or therapy that will completely remove scars or stretch marks. The Vbeam laser can improve the look and feel of most scars and stretch marks by stimulating collagen production in the deep layers of your skin. Multiple treatments are usually necessary to achieve improvement; the amount of improvement depends on the size and severity of the scar or stretch mark. Most patients notice improvement 6-8 weeks after their first treatment. Please note that although we have seen significant improvements using Vbeam laser, the laser will not completely remove scars or stretch marks.
For most patients who have significant stretch marks and skin laxity of the lower abdomen (post partum or post weight loss) will have more benefit with the abdominoplasty/tummy tuck procedure.
Are there other ways to treat my vascular lesion? [page top]
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), 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 Vbeam Laser Therapy. The scarring or loss of pigment may become more evident after treatment with the Vbeam.
The Vbeam 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 the spider veins or other vascular lesion to be treated
The depth of penetration of the Vbeam is limited to vessels about 1.5mm in depth. Therefore, vessels deeper than this may not respond to the therapy. Additionally, blue vessels may not respond as well as red ones.
Treatment with the Vbeam may consist of multiple treatments. For facial veins, one treatment may be sufficient for clearance but additional treatments are not uncommon. These treatments occur on an average of every six to twelve weeks depending on the area and type of treatment.
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 larger vessels up to 1.5mm 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.
With any laser therapy there is a possibility for adverse effects. The following are adverse effects that may occur with the Vbeam:
- The treated areas may hyperpigment or appear darker after the bruising/red discoloration heals. Normal skin color usually returns within 6 months after laser therapy.
- Scarring is a risk with the use of any laser. The Vbeam has had no reported incidence of scarring. If the post treatment skin care instructions are not followed, the chances of scarring are increased.
- The treated area may show a slight depression after the laser treatments. This depression usually resolves within a few months.
Will the laser treatment hurt? [page top]
The DCD (Dynamic Cooling Device) which is built into the laser system, delivers a short burst or 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 or anesthetic can be used if requested. The feeling of a laser pulse has been described as being snapped by a rubber band or a slight stinging sensation. Following laser treatment, the area may continue to sting slightly or feel warm like 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.
We also offer a topical numbing cream that may be applied 30-45 minutes before treatment to help reduce the sensation of the laser pulsed. You can discuss this option with the nurse prior to treatment.
How many treatments will I need? [page top]
The number of treatments really depends on the type of lesions being treated. Some vein treatments may consist of 1-2 treatments, while treatment of scars and stretch marks may have 5-8 treatments. You will be informed of the estimated number of treatments for your specific area(s) of concern during your initial consultation.
The duration of your laser treatment depends on the size of the area you wish to have treated. Most treatments last between 15-20 minutes.
How frequently will the treatments be performed? [page top]
Depending on the type of treatment, the treatment frequency usually is about every 6-8 weeks.
What happens after the treatment? [page top]
Depending on the type and area of treatment, patients will have different post-treatment results and regimes. Some patients may experience bruising or redness that lasts for several days up to several weeks, while others may only have slight redness for several hours. Please read through out section on patient guidelines for more specific information on post-treatment care.