Laser ablation for removing prominent hand veins

Last month we discussed elimination of varicose veins in the leg region. But what about the veins in the hands? Many women have to find all sorts of tricks to hide their hands because of loose, sun damaged skin, age spots, and disturbing prominent veins. But a new procedure – laser ablation – may provide them with a solution.

According to this relatively quick procedure discussed at the ASPS conference, women can now erase unwanted hand veins. Laser ablation uses a laser placed on the tip of a wire, which plastic surgeons thread into the vein. As the wire is slowly pulled out, the energy from the laser heats up the vein and blood cells, damaging the inner lining of the vessel wall. Once the wire is removed, a tight dressing is put on the hand, clamping down the tissue and collapsing the vein. Over the next couple of weeks, the vein dies and gives way, leaving a smooth hand.

During the recovery period, which lasts about two weeks, patients are able and encouraged to use their hands. In addition, they are required to wear a compression garment to decrease the swelling and to help the veins lay flat.

In the study, 60 veins were treated on eight women in an office surgery setting. Of those treated, only one vein did not respond to laser ablation and required more invasive surgery to remedy.

“As people age, they often lose fat tissue in their hands as well as skin elasticity, making the veins more prominent and distinguishable. Although many women are annoyed by the veins in their hands, some of my patients are so concerned they will actually place their hands on the table, palms up, so they don’t show,” said Dr. Roxanne Guy, co-author of the study. “Our aim with this new technique was to find a safe and quick procedure to eliminate prominent hand veins for our patients without having to undergo serious surgery.”

“Previously, if patients wanted to eliminate unsightly hand veins their only options were to have the veins completely removed, which causes scars, or sclerotherapy, which leaves hands feeling tender and may cause tiny capillaries to appear through the skin,” said Asad Shamma, MD, a vascular surgeon who practices in Beirut, Lebanon and co-author of the study. “With laser ablation, women can raise their hands with confidence without experiencing the negative side effects associated with other procedures. Related link: Discuss this and other plastic surgery topics in BeautyNova forums