KTP Laser for Vein and Redness Reduction of the Face

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How Does Vein Removal Occur?

At Richmond Aesthetic Surgery, our board-certified plastic surgeon Neil Zemmel, MD utilize a KTP laser to target blood vessels that lead to red discoloration of the face. KTP stands for the Potassium Titanyl Phosphate (KTP), and this crystal is used as the laser medium, producing a wavelength of 532 nanometers. The KTP laser only targets the oxy-hemoglobin in your blood, thereby leaving surrounding structures and tissue unaffected. The laser beam passes through the skin and penetrates, shrinks, or ablates the targeted vessel. The blood vessel walls then collapse, seal, and later dissolve within the body, thus diminishing or eliminating their appearance. Due to genetics, hormones, sun exposure, and aging, the development of new veins may reoccur and additional treatments may therefore be necessary.

What Does the KTP Treat?

The KTP laser is used for treating various skin disorders involving enlarged or disorganized blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface. The most common conditions treated are telangiectasias (fine spider veins in the cheeks and around the nose), rosacea, hemangiomas, cherry angiomas on the body, port wine stains, and poikiloderma of civatte.

What Can I Expect?

The redness and vein removal procedure will require the patient to wear protective eye wear throughout the treatment. The treatment consists of placing a hand piece against the surface of the skin and activating the laser. Many patients describe each pulse to feel like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. Topical anesthetic may be applied but is not typically required or recommended. An average treatment takes 15 minutes and costs $300.00. Most patients require 1 to 3 treatments for optimal clearance. Smaller areas or isolated vessels may be treated for a lower cost but require a consultation with Dr. Zemmel.

Basic Aftercare

Immediately following treatment, an ice pack may be applied to soothe the treated area. Care should be taken in the first few days following treatment to avoid scrubbing the area and/or use of abrasive skin cleansers. A bandage or patch may help to prevent abrasion of the treated area. Prior to treatment and two weeks following treatment, patients should protect the area with a physical sunblock containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, as well as protect the area from direct sun exposure to reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (darkening). After treatments, loose clothing should be worn to avoid rubbing, the areas should not be exposed to swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, hot showers or baths, and contact sports should be avoided until healing is complete.

Side Effects

As with any laser treatment, there is a risk of side effects. The most common side effects from the KTP laser treatment are usually minor in nature and short lived such as pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, hyperpigmentation (darkening), and hypopigmentation (lightening). Pain may occur for some during treatment, which can be reduced by contact cooling and, if necessary, a topical anesthetic. Redness and swelling are not uncommon, and in rare instances soreness may occur. Swelling is common, especially on the upper cheeks and forehead, and usually subsides in a few days. Cold packs will be applied after treatment to limit swelling. Generally, cosmetic lasers work best on untanned, lighter skin individuals versus darker skin tones. Bruising affects up to 10% of patients and fades with time. On rare occasions a small blister may form within the first three days and may be an indication of recent sun exposure. To reduce your risk of side effects, we strongly recommend the use of a broad spectrum sun block with an SPF of 35 or higher, applied to the area a minimum of two weeks prior to treatment. In addition, shave the treatment area of any surface hair; do not apply any self-tanning creams or lotions for two weeks leading up to your treatment; do not use a tanning bed, or arrive with tanned skin from sun exposure in the two weeks before treatment.

The following is a copy of our post-treatment instructions that you will receive after your treatment in our office.