Vascular laser: what it is used for and how to prepare
There are many imperfections and vascular pathologies that can be treated with laser equipment. The advantage over other techniques? By emitting a ‘coherent’ beam of light, the laser is able to selectively, precisely hit a target
Types of laser
There are different types of lasers which, depending on their specific wavelength, have different uses.
Among the best-known lasers in the cosmetic field, for example, is the alexandrite, which emits light at a wavelength of 755 nm (nanometres) and selectively strikes melanin, the pigment of the hair, and can therefore be used for photo-epilation.
For vascular lesions, ranging from angioma to capillary, on the other hand, the target is haemoglobin, the blood pigment.
If the vascular lesion tends more towards red, such as ruby angiomas or capillaries in the wings of the nose, then the most suitable wavelength will be 532 nm.
If the vascular lesion is more bluish, such as capillaries in the lower limbs, for example, the most appropriate wavelength will be 1,064 nm.
This is why having a laser that allows both wavelengths to be used is optimal in the vascular and dermatological fields.
What the laser is used for
The laser makes it possible to treat a very wide range of vascular pathologies: from star angiomas to ruby angiomas, but also small congenital angiomas, couperose, poikiloderma, typical of reddened necks in photo-exposed areas.
But also conspicuous and unsightly superficial veins that can appear on the face as well as dilated capillaries in any body district.
Among the most widespread and common angiomas is the ruby angioma, a true cluster of capillaries or blood vessels.
It is a benign vascular lesion: in fact, rather than out of concern for its possible negative evolution, one visits the specialist because it is unsightly.
It usually appears as a ruby-red, round or oval papule slightly protruding from the dermis and does not present a related symptomatology.
They tend to appear from the age of 30-40, are usually multiple and increase in number and size with age.
This is a small benign vascular lesion that has a star-shaped appearance, with a central reddish punctiform portion and peripheral capillary branches.
They usually occur in multiples and tend to appear from the age of 30-40, increasing in number and size with age.
Couperose is a disabling condition for those who suffer from it and often, given its extent and location, can be quite embarrassing.
These are real reddish areas of the face, with noticeable capillaries, due to an abnormal dilation of the superficial blood vessels that occurs mostly in women, over the age of thirty, but does not exclude the male gender.
Dilated capillaries are nothing more than unsightly ‘broken capillaries’, i.e. small, excessively dilated venous blood vessels.
A well-tolerated treatment
After a careful vascular specialist examination, if there is an indication, one can proceed with a laser session to treat the pathology one is suffering from.
The laser is not, as one might think, a totally painless method.
However, many steps have been taken to minimise discomfort during the session thanks to air and contact cooling of the skin during the emission of the light beam.
Contraindications of laser treatment and side effects
Laser treatment does, however, have some contraindications: these include taking photosensitising drugs and pregnancy.
This is why it is advisable during the examination to take a thorough medical history and to find out if you are undergoing any treatment that could adversely affect the outcome of the treatment.
At the end of the laser session, the area may appear red and this condition may persist for a few days, also accompanied by local swelling.
These are transient side effects that will give way to effective results.
In addition, for allergic or atopic subjects in general, the laser can be a valid alternative to injection methods such as sclerotherapy or phlebotherapy, which are contraindicated as these drugs could cause an allergic reaction if injected into the vessels.
How to prepare for a vascular laser session
In order to undergo laser sessions, you must not have been exposed to sunlight (or tanning lamps) for at least 1 month.
Failure to observe this precaution may result in burns, hyperpigmentation or even permanent hypopigmentation.
For the same reasons it is essential after a laser session to apply total photoprotection to be renewed several times during the day, even if it is winter or if the sky is overcast.
And do not expose yourself to the sun for at least 1 month after the last session.
The number of sessions may vary depending on the number of lesions to be treated and their extent, and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the specialist.
For ruby angiomas, for example, 1 or 2 sessions are usually enough to obtain the desired result.