What are Venous Lakes?
A venous lake (phlebectasis) is a small vein in the skin that becomes large, visible and dilated as time goes on. They are more commonly seen in older patients and are more common in men than women. They are commonly found on the lower lip. The causes are not clearly understood. However they are benign lesions that are not contagious. They usually do not cause too many problems. However sometimes they can be knocked, caught or become painful. Occasionally they may bleed.
What does a venous lake look like?
A venous lake is a usually a small soft blue lump, up to 1cm wide, which may be flat or slightly dome-shaped. It usually affects sun-exposed areas of skin, most commonly on the lower lip or the rim of the ear. When compressed (pressure is applied to it), the blood may drain out of it causing it to flatten and almost disappear, the blood then returns once the pressure is removed. The photo below is a typical appearance of a venous lake on the lower lip.
Treatment of Venous Lakes
Dr Hussein will usually use a Long pulsed Nd-YAG vascular laser to treat venous lakes. Pulsed Dye laser is another type of laser that can be used to treat venous lakes but it tends to be only useful for smaller lesions. Treatment is quick and simple with minor discomfort. One treatment is usually required. Occasionally for larger lesions more than one treatment may be required. Dr Hussein has included some before and after photos as well as a video of the procedure.
With larger lesions it is not unusual to have a residual flat lighter coloured mark on the lip where the lesion once was. This will always look less prominent and more cosmetically acceptable than the original lesion. There is also a very small chance of skin necrosis, scarring and ulceration.