Thread Veins, often referred to as “Thread Veins”, “Spider Veins” or “Broken Veins” are small blood vessels that run close to the skins surface. When the blood vessels become dilated they appear as fine purple or red wiggly lines, thread veins.
Why do we get them?
Women are more prone to developing thread veins than men are, women suffer with thread veins about about 10% more often than men do. They do not correspond to any underlying medical condition, though they can be deemed as unsightly and can be a warning sign for circulatory problems. They are normally found on the legs- although other parts of the body may become affected by them too.
Thread veins normally develop as a person ages, as we age our skin and blood vessels become more elastic, the valves that are located in our veins begin to weaken. As the valves weaken blood flows back into the vein. Blood, like water and everything else always flows downhill which is why thread veins are most common in the legs.
The condition can often be caused by hormonal changes associated with the menopause and pregnancy, during pregnancy the amount of blood in the body increases significantly putting more pressure on the veins and the valves. Thread veins can also develop due to too much sun exposure, being overweight, wind exposure, extremes in temperature, some medications or a course of radiotherapy can also cause thread veins, sometimes they just run in the family.
Many people who have thread veins suffer no serious health problems; they should not affect circulation or cause long term health issues. If thread veins become problematic they can be treated in a variety of ways; these include undergoing a phlebectomy, endothermal ablation, compressive stockings, sclerotherapy and of course laser.
Prevention and reduction
You can reduce your chances of getting varicose veins by:
- Exercising, exercise will help keep your weight under control and increase blood circulation around your body. Even a bit of gentle walking will keep your veins, valves and overall circulatory system working in good order and help to reduce blood pressure.
- Don’t stand in one place for too long, Standing in the same position for a long period of time increases venous pressure in your legs and feet. The pressure caused by regularly standing in the same position will begin to weaken the walls of your blood vessels. If you sit for long periods try to improve your circulation by not slouching and never cross your legs.
- Avoid birth control pills with high-estrogen, these types of pills can cause problems with the functionality of your circulatory valves.
- Try to elevate your legs whilst sitting or sleeping, this will put less pressure on the weak valves and allow blood to flow back to your heart.
Varicose veins don’t usually get better without treatment, when untreated they will usually get worse.
Non-invasive methods to treat thread veins successfully can include the administration of topical treatments, laser, alternative therapy techniques that involve massaging essential oils (such as almond) into the affected area may also prove beneficial as they increase circulation and strengthen the capillaries.
Thread veins around the facial area can sometimes be treated with numerous beauty products, most of these products contain Aloe Vera and vitamin K.
Thread veins which are located deeper in the legs may require sclerotherapy; this treatment involves a tiny needle being used to inject sodium chloride solution into the vein, this solution then irritates the vein which becomes enlarged and blocked. Sclerotherapy stops the blood going through the vein which allows it to shrink and die. Occasionally, after this type of treatment a dark area may appear, which resembles a bruise, this will usually fade naturally over time. Sclerotherapy treatment can also cause more thread veins to appear near the area that was treated and in very rare cases a condition called superficial thrombophlebitis.
In serious cases a phlebectomy or vein stripping procedure maybe required.
How Can Laser be used to Treat Thread Veins?
Laser is a non-invasive procedure that can be used to treat: Spider Naevii, Facial Telangeictasia, Campbell de Morgan Spots and Blue/Purple thread veins up to 4mm in width.
Laser light is attracted to pigment, high energy bursts of light are used to gently heat and coagulate the vessel. A mixed modality laser increases the treatments effectiveness and is less painful, by using a mixed modality laser we can target the pigment whilst tightening the skin.
Does Laser Treatment Provide Permanent Results?
No treatment method has been scientifically proven to be free from recurrences, in numerous studies sclerotherapy has been the least effective method for spider vein treatment. If you have inherited the condition no treatment can prevent new spider veins from appearing.
How Long Does Treatment by Laser Take?
It depends on the size of the area to be treated but treatments will not usually take any more than 20 minutes.
Treatment with mixed modality lasers also increases methemoglobin, methemoglobin is pronounced met-hemoglobin it enables methemoglobin to be converted back to hemoglobin and makes our treatment 3x time effective than normal laser alone.
How Soon Will I See the Results?
Results depend on the conditions severity, sometimes the problem veins will disappear before your very eyes but usually they will require up to 3 treatment sessions.
What Are the Common Side Effects of Varicose Vein Treatments?
Sclerotherapy may cause an allergic reaction, permanently mark the skin or cause blood clots.
Phlebectomy will cause bruising and may leave scars, in rare cases nerve damage and infection are possible.
Laser Thread Vein Removal may cause temporary swelling and temporary discolouration of the skin, in very rare cases burning may occur but the patient’s vulnerability to this can be assessed at the time of consultation.