Thermocoagulation Spider Vein Treatment
Thermocoagulation is a minimally invasive technique used in the treatment of specific types of veins on the face. Most patients find the treatment to be quick, with minimal discomfort. Thermocoagulation is used for spider veins that are too small for sclerotherapy or to be removed surgically. Appropriate veins include fine telangiectasia, small cherry angiomas, and veins that are resistant to intense pulse light (IPL) treatment.
A hair-thin probe is placed on the unsightly vein, and a microburst of high energy heats the vein, causing it to collapse. Thermocoagulation can take 15 minutes to one hour.
Who should have thermocoagulation?
Many people with fine spider veins, fine telangiectasia, small angiomas, and veins that are resistant to sclerotherapy or IPL treatment on their face can be treated with thermocoagulation.
This treatment works best on spider veins that are 0.3mm and smaller in diameter. For reference, a human hair averages about 0.1mm. It is not designed to treat larger veins deep beneath the skin.
You are not a good candidate for thermocoagulation if you have a pacemaker or similar cardiac (heart) device; have a history or present diagnosis of epilepsy (seizures); are pregnant; have used instant tanning or self-tanning products within the last 7 days; and/or have an allergy to metal, especially nickel.
How is thermocoagulation performed?
A fine, hair-thin insulated probe is placed directly onto the abnormal vein by a trained technician. Thermocoagulation delivers a microburst of energy that heats the vein. The heat causes the blood in the vein to coagulate, which collapses the vein. The vein is then gradually absorbed by the body.
During the procedure, the average reported pain level is 2 to 3 on a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain. Patients report that the probe contact feels like a pinch to a snap of a rubber band. A warm sensation at the site may be felt immediately after treatment. To ease discomfort, ice packs may be applied to the site afterwards.
What can I expect after treatment?
Results are seen immediately, with continuous improvement over several weeks to two months. Micro-abrasions, swelling and redness may be noticed immediately after treatment. The skin may feel sensitive for a few days, and harsh chemicals should be avoided on the treated area. The use of aloe vera or aqua-gel can relieve discomfort. It is also important to remember to not scratch the area. Treated veins generally will not return. However, new veins may develop over time, so “touch ups” are recommended.
What are risks and side effects of thermocoagulation treatment?
As with any medical treatment, there are certain risks and side effects associated with thermocoagulation. Very rarely, pitting scarring may occur.
How is thermocoagulation different from intense pulsed light (IPL) and sclerotherapy?
Unlike IPL or laser therapy, thermocoagulation is not skin type dependent, and it is inherently safer than those therapies. Thermocoagulation targets the specific vein versus a generalized area, in contrast to IPL. Sclerotherapy is ideal for large veins underneath the skin. Sclerotherapy can treat most spider veins, but requires multiple treatment sessions.
Thermocoagulation, IPL and sclerotherapy are not ideal for varicose veins, which are bluish-purple vessels that are large and bulge from the skin. If you think you have veins of this type, please call us to discuss what treatments would be ideal for you.
Are multiple treatments sessions recommended?
In most patients, 30 minutes of thermocoagulation treatment will cover all of your face. This depends greatly on the severity of the problem and the size of the area being treated. During your appointment, we will be able to advise you if several treatment sessions are recommended.
What is the charge for additional sessions?
Additional sessions are based on treatment time.
- 15 minutes: $200 each
- 30 minutes: $350 each
- 45 minutes: $450 each
- 2 treatments at 30 minutes each: $500
We accept Visa, MasterCard, checks and cash. Payment is due at the time of service. This is a cosmetic service and is not billable to insurance.