Spider veins, venous stars, venous flares, telangiectasia…
These are all terms used to describe what most of us know as thread veins – but what exactly ARE thread veins?
Thread veins are dilated surface veins within the skin that are visible to the naked eye. They usually measure between 0.1 – 2.0mm. They are a common cosmetic problem and occur in up to 40% of people. Up to 70% of women develop thread veins during pregnancy but majority of these vessels disappear within 3 months of giving birth. Thread veins may also develop following trauma, often a minor injury, but the new vessels grow in response to damage to small vessels in the deeper layers. They may occur in association with varicose veins. Sometimes thread veins can develop following surgery to the leg including varicose vein surgery. Most thread veins are a cosmetic problem only but a few people report local discomfort.
What treatments are available?
A number of treatments are available to treat thread veins. Prior to treatment it is important to make sure that there are no varicose veins as treatment is less likely to be successful. Laser therapy and microsclerotherapy (injection treatment) are the main treatment options for thread veins. I offer microsclerotherapy in my clinic. I do not offer laser treatment for thread veins. Good results can be achieved with microsclerotherpy although the treatment should be considered a control rather than a cure as new veins can develop at other sites and sometimes at the site of previous treatment.
This is a relatively painless procedure. A very fine needle is inserted in to the skin at the site of the visible veins and a very low concentration of a solution is injected. This damages the lining of the vein and causes it to close. As these veins form a network, more than one treatment session may be necessary to treat a clump of thread veins.
Treatment session are usually 30mns long.
What are the side effects of sclerotherapy?
After injection, the vein will appear darker and bruised. There may be some redness at the injection site. This resolves over a number of weeks. You may be left with some brown discolouration along the track of the vein. This usually resolves over a few months.