Professional Cosmetic Surgery and Healthy Ageing Clinic
Spider veins (Telangiectasias) are the string like, unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins, usually in combination with small superficial varicose veins. These usually appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. It is one of the most rewarding, non-surgical procedures with respect to results and relatively short recovery time. Following treatment of thread veins, the skin on the treated area appears healthier and clearer. Most patients who used to avoid shorts or short skirts and felt uncomfortable barring their legs in a bathing suit due to the unsightly cluster of veins, experienced a wonderful sense of freedom following the procedure, being able to wear anything they like, with full confidence.
Treatment options for Spider Veins
There are several effective ways of treating this condition. Some of the options are laser treatment, sclerotherapy and simple coagulation with a fine electro- cautery needle. The receommended treatment option depends on the size of veins, the area of distribution and degree of the individual’s response to the procedure chosen.
- Unsightly cluster of red, blue or purple veins
- Small superficial varicose veins
- Conditions that preclude Sclerotherapy are Hepatitis, AIDS and other blood borne diseases.
- Deep vein problems (they needed to be treated first to ensure any long term results from treatment)
- Other unexplained problems such as tenderness, pain, aching or itching in the proposed treatment area
Pain and Anaesthesia
The pain is usually bearable and Local anaesthetic administration is rarely necessary. The procedure is carried out on an out-patient basis unless combined with other surgical options.
Duration of Treatment
Laser Treatment – A typical session usually lasts from 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the severity of the condition three to seven sessions may be needed (the average being 3 treatments at three month intervals)
Sclerotherapy - Each session lasts between 15 to 45 minutes depending on the area being treated. Three to six sessions are usually required to achieve the desired result.
An experienced and skilled physician using the correct type of laser can accurately direct strong bursts of light energy through the skin, causing the targeted vein to slowly fade and disappear. This treatment is non-invasive with minimal pain. Cooling the area following the treatment helps alleviate any discomfort.
The spider veins appear darker and visible immediately following the treatment but will fade over 2 to 6 weeks. There will be a 40% to 60% improvement following each session.
Possible side effects include redness and swelling on the skin immediately following treatment which disappears in 3 to 5 days and skin discolouration which disappears in 1 to 2 months.
The area to be treated is cleansed with anti-septic solution. The sclerosing agent is then injected into the veins. The injection sites are chosen 1 inch apart, along the length of the spider vein. In a normal session, anywhere between 5 to 40 injections are done though sometimes an injection placed at the base of a ‘tree’ of spider veins may cause all the interconnected branches to collapse (thereby reducing the number of injections required). There is minimal burning sensation with each injection; but as the needles are extremely small, discomfort is usually mild. Following treatment the injected sites may be covered with cotton balls and tape.
Immediate Post Treatment Instructions
Dressings (Cotton balls) if any placed are removed in 48 hours. A medical grade compression garment is recommended, to be worn around the clock for 3 to 10 days. Painkillers though rarely required can be prescribed if needed. There may be some cramping around the legs in the first few days following Sclerotherapy. This usually diminishes with time. You are instructed to undertake short walks to prevent blood clots forming in the deep veins of the leg.
The treated areas will generally look worse before they look better. Bruising from Sclerotherapy diminishes in a month’s time though some discolouration may persist for up to a year. Most normal activities can be resumed in 7 to 10 days, although it can take up to 2 weeks before you can wear any clothing that can reveal the treated area (legs). Most of the bruising and redness will resolve within a month.
In the recovery period you are advised to not take hot baths ad refrain from squatting, prolonged standing or sitting, particularly with crossed legs, heavy lifting, running or any strenuous activity that could at this early stage, lead to re-dilation of the blood vessels and compromise results.
Limitations of Results
- Will not affect deep vein problems, which must be treated prior to treatment of surface veins for successful long term results
- Treatment will only affect veins that are visible; they will not prevent new veins from appearing in the future