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Get a Leg Up on Hot Summer Legs

Get a Leg Up on Hot Summer Legs

Get a Leg Up on Hot Summer Legs

Consumer alert: choose vein treatments with caution to avoid disfiguring results

By Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, Medical Director, La Jolla Spa MD, La Jolla, CA

Warmer weather means getting into gorgeous summer skirts and shorts – but not for one of the thousands of women who have unsightly varicose or spider veins ruining their look and making them too self-conscious to enjoy baring their legs.

There’s no reason to let leg veins force you to cover up. The proper treatment of leg veins is safe and effective. But too many women are lured by unrealistic promises of miracle treatments with lasers or “new” injectible formulas that not only won’t work, but could make your veins even worse – and cause lasting damage.

After more than two decades treating leg veins, I’m still shocked sometimes by the damage I see caused by practitioners who are not board certified and who lack experience with sclerotherapy. I spend far too much time working with patients to correct substandard treatments they’ve already received that either didn’t work, or caused disfiguring brown stains or even permanent scars. It breaks my heart to see patients who have already spent thousands of dollars on vein treatments get ripped off or worse yet hurt by unscrupulous people who claimed they could deliver some sort of miraculous results. It’s completely unnecessary.

The problem is made worse because people are eager to save money in today’s economy. They are lured by advertisements filled with promises of effective treatment at lower cost.

When people are seeking treatment for leg veins, my goal is to educate patients and help them make good decisions about safe treatments from highly trained professionals. Be sure you’re getting treatment from an expert, not someone who attended a weekend seminar and set up shop a few months ago. Don’t be shy about asking tough questions and requesting credentials and references. Ethical physicians are eager to share their qualifications.

Next, be sure your physician uses only FDA approved solutions on your veins. Some physicians use cheaper mixed formulas with non-approved compounds. You won’t save money in the long run because these solutions don’t work as well as the FDA-approved solutions. You’ll end up needing additional treatment that costs way more, and you risk damaging your legs.

Finally, don’t buy into the hype about laser treatments for leg veins. I have 32 lasers in my practice, and I hold patents on several types of lasers. I’ve tried them all and they simply do not work as well as nearly painless injections. In the wrong hands, using lasers on leg veins can be dangerous and are much more painful. I have dozens of photos of patients showing terrible scarring from inept laser treatments. It’s upsetting to me because it just didn’t need to happen.

The good news is that proper treatment by an expert physician can produce excellent results for most patients. When it’s done right, vein treatments are safe and effective. It shouldn’t take more than one to two 10-15 minute treatments when you trust your legs to the right person..

It does take a little time for vein treatments to take full effect. Don’t wait until a week before the company picnic or dream vacation to schedule your vein treatment and expect your legs to be ready for shorts. It takes several weeks for your legs to heal and look their best.

Dr. Goldman is a double board certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who is renowned for his pioneering research of multiple laser techniques and skin rejuvenation. Dr. Goldman is a Volunteer Clinical Professor of Dermatology/Medicine for University of California, San Diego, and has written 18 medical textbooks on cosmetic and laser surgery, several of which are considered definitive medical texts in their respective fields including sclerotherapy: Treatment of Varicose and Telangiectatic Leg Veins now in its fourth edition is considered the gold standard for medical practitioners.