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Women Raise Their Hands: New Laser Technique Relieves Unsightly Hand Veins

Study Presented at American Society of Plastic Surgeons Annual Meeting

(press release from ASPS)

CHICAGO ** You've heard the expression "turning back the hands of time," well this may have literal meaning as more people begin to see their hands as a telltale sign of aging. Some women go to extremes to hide their hands because of loose, sun damaged skin, age spots, and disturbing prominent veins. Laser ablation a new and relatively quick procedure can now ease their minds and erase unwanted hand veins, according to a study presented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2005 conference in Chicago.

"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 Roxanne Guy, MD, ASPS vice president and 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."

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.

"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."

 The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 5,800 Member Surgeons, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

ASPS
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
WWW.PLASTICSURGERY.ORG

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