San Diego Spider Vein Laser Treatment

The Nd:YAG laser is the gold standard technology for non-invasive treatment of leg veins. The Nd:YAG laser can also be used to address facial wrinkles and acne scars although best results frequently are achieved when the laser is used in combination with other treatments. The number of treatments necessary to achieve the desired results varies, but 3-5 or more treatments, at 4 week intervals may be needed.

How does the Nd:YAG laser work?

The 1064 nm wavelength energy of the Nd:YAG laser targets the hemoglobin of red blood cells within the treated blood vessels. The heat generated in the red blood cell leads to micro-clotting and causes irritation of the inner lining of the blood vessel, leading to partial or complete collapse of the blood vessel, which then degenerates.

Is treatment with the Nd:YAG laser painful?

The level of discomfort associated with the Nd:YAG laser varies considerably depending on the individual. The discomfort associated with this procedure can be reduced with the application of numbing cream to treatment areas 30-45 minutes prior to treatment.

What are the contraindications to treatment with the Nd:YAG laser?

Poor candidates for this procedure include pregnant women, individuals with a history of circulation problems in the legs, embolic strokes, heart disease, diabetes, clotting disorders, blood clots and pulmonary emboli.

Potential side effects of Nd:YAG laser treatment include:


  • Itching.  Typically lasts for 1 to 2 hours but may persist for 1 to 2 days.
  • Temporary Bruising and Darkening of Treated Skin. This darkening may persist for 4 to 12 months.
  • Hematoma. Blood clot nodules can develop at sites of treatment usually within the first week following laser therapy.  Such nodules are not serious but may need to be extracted.
  • Sloughing. Sloughing is a small blister or ulceration at the treatment site that heals slowly over 1 to 2 months.  This is a rare occurrence but can result in a scar.
  • Ankle Swelling.  Ankle swelling may occur after treatment of blood vessels in the foot or ankle.  It usually resolves in a few days and is lessened by wearing the prescribed support stockings.

Aftercare instructions

  • Patients are encouraged to walk, ride a bicycle or participate in other low-impact forms of exercise (examples: yoga and tai chi) to prevent the formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs.
  • Avoid prolonged periods of standing or sitting, and high-impact activities such as jogging or swimming 7-10 days after your laser treatment session.
  • Any form of heat (including Saunas and hot baths) should be avoided for 24 hours after the procedure.
  • Sun exposure should be minimized for 2-4 weeks following the procedure.  If you must be in the sun for a limited period of time, a sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, with SPF 30 or greater is recommended.
  • We recommend wearing medical compression stockings that apply at least 20-30 mm Hg of pressure for at least 7-10 days after the procedure (preferably four to six weeks) during the day-time.  Wearing compression stockings minimizes the risk of edema, discoloration and pain.  Fashion support stockings are a less acceptable alternative because they do not apply enough pressure to the legs.
  • The surgical tape and cotton balls placed during the procedure should be left in place for 12-24 hours after the procedure.
  • Unusual signs or symptoms to watch for:
  • Severe leg pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increasing swelling, pain and redness at the sites of injection
  • Fever/chills
  • Nodules or “knots” at the sites of injection known as hematomas (can occur within the first week following the procedure.  They may need to be extracted.

Feel free to ask Dr. Chen and staff for more information regarding laser treatment for spider veins and whether you would be a good candidate for this procedure.