At one end of the spectrum, small spider veins are the smallest varicose veins. These are usually of most concern to women and can occur anywhere on the legs, but more often on the inside of the knee and outer thigh. Venulectasias are slightly larger veins that occur in groups – you’ll regularly see them with spider veins.
Just below the surface of your skin you may notice reticular veins – larger vessels that are dark blue in colour. These can sometimes appear to join together to form a stream or river travelling down the leg. It is important to treat these vessels, along with the spider veins, if long-term improvement in of spider veins is to be expected.
Spider veins, much like varicose veins can surface at any time, and several factors contribute. Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise make a large difference, with a sedentary lifestyle and high fat diet being major causes. Sun exposure can cause spider veins in particular, and as people age, varicose vein problems are more likely due to weakening vein walls.
There are many methods used to treat spider veins, including microsclerotherapy:
Microsclerotherapy is the treatment of spider veins using a sclerosant liquid or foam which is injected into the small veins, causing them to close. A very fine needle is used to inject the sclerosant into the tiny spider veins . We inject the veins with the assistance a magnifying light which allows better visualisation of the vessels. In the past vascular laser was used to treat spider veins, and although it worked very well on facial veins, the greater pressures in the leg meant it wasn’t effective in treating leg spider veins. We no longer offer this treatment. Microsclerotherapy is an internationally proven technique and the gold standard in the treatment of spider veins.
At the Crows Nest Cosmetic & Vein Clinic we generally use Polidocanol 1% foam, to treat the smaller veins. It was initially developed as a local anaesthetic, but is now used exclusively to treat varicose and spider veins. It has advantages over the older treatments like hypertonic saline, in that it is less painful, and has a lower chance of skin ulceration. It causes less inflammation than FibroVein sclerosant, which we use to treat the bigger varicose veins during Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy.
Spider Veins and venulectasias before and after Microsclerotherapy:
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