Spider Veins

Thread veins, Spider veins or dermal flares, are very fine dilated veins situated just beneath the surface of the skin. Heredity, as with larger varicose veins , is an influencing factor as are hormonal surges as at the onset of periods and during pregnancy. In some patients they are associated with varicose veins but in other people they occur without any problems associated with their deeper veins. It is essential that patients with dermal flares undergo a venous assessment to make sure that there is no underlying condition causing them. Treating surface veins in the presence of varicose veins, even though they are not visible, results in them not disappearing or returning quickly giving an unsatisfactory result.

Mild to severe pain can be associated with dermal flares as well as fatigue, aching and throbbing. This can quite often be cyclical in women and related to their periods. Such symptoms that present with larger varicose veins do not always disappear following treatment but do diminish with subsequent sclerotherapy treatment for thread veins. Lasers can be used to treat thread veins based on the size of veins and skin type.

What’s the best treatment available?

Sclerotherapy is a technique used for the removal of surface and spider veins. It involves injections with a very fine needle of a sclerosing solution which has an irritant effect on the lining of the veins causing the walls of the veins to stick together. Blood stops flowing through the veins, which are then absorbed by the body’s natural defence mechanisms over a period of three months. The blood is then directed back to the deeper venous system. The results are obvious almost immediately. Based on the number of veins and how extensively distributed they are, more than 1 session may be required.

What are the possible side effects?

Bruising can last anything from two weeks to two months depending on the size of the blood vessels treated. Due to bruising following injections the treated areas can look worse before they improve and it is necessary to be patient to obtain a good result. Bruising may cause brown discolouration of the skin locally. This could take up to a few months to fade completely. High compression stockings are worn for up to three days to help reduce the amount of bruising. It is usually advisable to leave a two week period between treatments on the same area to allow bruising to settle.

The side effects are minimal and self limited. The amount of bruising also depends on the client’ medical history, medication history and other factors like sun exposure, etc. Lasers have been used to treat the smaller vessels not treated with injections and for post injection pigmentation. Pain and soreness at the injection sites are transient and usually relieved within few days.