Spider Veins

SPIDER VEINS

Spider veins are tiny red or purple veins that can be seen on the face, legs (upper thighs to feet) and occasionally chest, back and abdomen. These veins can be treated with Micro-sclerotherapy. They are on the surface of the skin and can appear as single lines or connected blue veins resembling tree branches or star bursts. Sometimes they are connected to underlying varicose veins, which need to be treated before the spider veins can be dealt with.

ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR MICRO-SCLEROTHERAPY?

All new patients undergo a lower leg venous ultrasound to rule out venous reflux as the underlying cause of their spider veins. Sclerotherapy for spider veins is not effective if there is underlying varicose disease. Most patients who have spider veins alone (without associated varicose veins) do not have underlying varicose disease and the spider veins can be simply treated with micro-sclerotherapy. An ultrasound exam is the only way to know for sure.

MICROSCLEROTHERAPY – SIDE EFFECTS.

These are usually minimal and of limited nature. The vast majority will settle with a little time. They include:

  • Bruising. Most patients will get at least a mild degree of bruising. This will usually disappear over a few days or a week. The treated veins can become darker, and in some cases these may remain dark for a few weeks.
  • Hyper-pigmentation (Brown Staining). Usually due to iron deposits from old blood leaking out into surrounding tissues from the treated vein which becomes more porous This staining may take some months to fade, (rarely more than a year).
  • Phlebitis. Probably the most common side effect. This is a localised painful inflammation of the treated vein that settles with anti–inflammatories and compression stockings.
WHY MICRO-SCLEROTHERAPY AND NOT LASER?

Micro-sclerotherapy is considered by most vein experts, to be the best form of treatment for spider veins on the legs. Micro-sclerotherapy uses a very fine needle is inserted into the vessels and small amounts of a solution are injected at several sites. Once the veins have shut down, blood no longer flows through them and they become firm and discoloured. The body’s immune system treats them as a bruise. Gradual re-absorption takes place and over time the veins fade away. Usually more than one treatment is usually required. Some spider veins are more resistant to sclerotherapy than others. We will adjust the concentration (power) of the sclerotherapy agents depending on the success of the previous sclerotherapy session. Laser treatment for lower leg veins is generally speaking not effective because the veins are thick walled and under high pressure because of gravity. Current laser technology does not allow sufficient energy to be delivered to the veins without significant skin damage. Sometimes at the end of treatment we will treat very very small veins with ND YAG laser if they are too small for injection.

Special compression stockings are worn for 1 – 2 weeks. The stockings contain silver to inhibit bacteria and have no toes for your comfort. We also have lighter stockings with toes if compression stockings are only required for a few days. At our clinic there is no restriction on showering, you can shower immediately after your procedure if you wish!

IPL AND LASER FOR SPIDER VEINS

IPL (intense pulsed light) uses light energy to destroy spider veins. This is an alternative to micro-sclerotherapy for extremely tiny spider veins, blush areas and spider Naevii. Larger veins (varicose veins/reticular (blue) veins) need to be treated first with sclerotherapy. Facial veins are low pressure and thin walled, they are very successfully treated with IPL or laser.