Spider Veins

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Spider veins are clusters of small prominent veins that appear mostly on the legs. Many of us find them troublesome and dislike the appearance, especially in summer when we want to wear shorts and dresses. Fortunately, there are a number of good treatment options.

Probably a number of things. Genetics plays a big role, and most of our patients with troublesome veins tell me one of their parents has similar veins.

Other contributors include standing on your feet without moving much, pregnancy, weight gain, hormonal changes (especially menopause). 

A large percentage of those who suffer from varicose veins have damage to the deeper veins in the legs, so that blood returning from the feet to the heart gets diverted to the superficial venous system.

 

A number of treatments are available to help treat spider veins. In some instances we will need to arrange an ultrasound scan to assess the competency of the deeper veins. A number of patients have varicose veins because their deeper venous system is incompetent.

At Central Wagga Medical and Skin we use two types of treatments, Sclerotherapy and Vascular laser. For many patients, we use a combination of both, with sclerotherapy being good for larger veins and the laser for smaller veins.

 

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution, called a sclerosing solution, directly into the spider vein with a very fine needle. The solution irritates the lining of the spider veins, causing them to stick together. Once this occurs, the blood can no longer pool in the vein and over time the appearance of the vein will fade or disappear. Large veins require repeat injections and very small veins may be unsuitable to treat if they are too fine for a needle to be inserted.

Anyone with spider veins can try sclerotherapy, however patients with severe disease or indicators or deep vein dysfunction, will benefit from a vein ultrasound and review by a vascular surgeon first. Dr Purnell will perform a full assessment and provide a referral if necessary. 

Lasers work by emitting high energy into a focused beam. A vascular laser focuses that energy into the red or blue colour spectrum - which happens to be the colour of your superficial veins. This makes it safe to use on all skin types. The energy coagulates the blood and the veins collapses over time.

First you will have a consultation, checking your past medical and surgical history, any medications you are taking (particularly blood thinners). The veins on your legs will be examined and plan made for treatment options

If there is time of the day we may proceed with the first treatment, however we may need to make another appointment, particularly if you have many veins or need a combination of treatments.

The treatment is very well tolerated. The needles are very fine and cause minimal discomfort when injected. All patients will experience redness, some bruising and little welts at the sites of the injection. These fade quickly. Dr Purnell will discuss all the benefits and risks with you prior to commencing any treatment. 

After the treatment we recommend that you wear compression stockings for a week and do some gentle exercise to encourage circulation and the blood flow in the deeper veins.

Most patients require 2-3 treatments, depending on the severity of the veins. One treatment may be possible for mild disease.