Richard O. Gregory M.D.
Being a laser expert brings with it hordes of patients who have dilated vessels and generalized redness of the face and neck. There is a multitude of causes for this as well as a variety of presentations. Probably the most commonly seen in my practice is the patient who as a result of aging and fair skin has multiple small capillaries around the nose which we call telangiectasias. These are most evident in the area next to the nose but can occur on the chin and cheeks and other areas. Vessels tend to dilate as we get older and the skin thins, therefore, making these more evident. Sun damage and perhaps excessive alcohol intake can aggravate these although one should make no presumptions about alcohol intake and the red nose.
Other broken capillaries can be as a result of surgery and are seen commonly following facelifts as well as nasal surgery and others. Some of this affect me transient, but part of it can be permanent and results from the fact that numerous blood vessels may be rerouted as a result of the surgery.
Other capillaries are related to a variety of skin disorders or disease states including rosacea of the skin. There is an excellent website, www.rosacea.org, which is sponsored by the rosacea foundation and contains excellent information. Rosacea is commonly treated by the dermatologist with a variety of creams as well as oral medication. In its most severe form, it is associated with acne, commonly called acne rosacea, as well as enlargement of the nose called rhinophyma. Rhinophyma also is usually associated with excessive glandular hypertrophy of the sebaceous glands causing a bumping us. In this extreme form the nose can be treated and in fact reshaped with the carbon dioxide laser. Some of my happiest patients, in fact, were those who had suffered the embarrassment for years which we corrected in the office under local anesthesia.
Broken capillaries are well treated with a variety of lasers. Lasers are basically heat instruments and can be chosen to specifically target red vessels. By heating the blood inside the vessel many times the vessel will collapse and close. It is not uncommon for these areas to require additional treatments in the future as there is a great tendency for the condition to return after a few years. If you are suffering from broken capillaries and generalized redness you should seek consultation with an experienced laser surgeon. The American Society for laser medicine and surgery, ASLMS, has a physician locator on its website www.aslms.org. Seek an experienced laser position, dermatologist our plastic surgeon, who has several different lasers that might suffice to achieve the best result. You can also call our office at the INSTITUTE OF AESTHETIC SURGERY at 407-409-8000.