What are spider veins?Spider veins are like varicose veins but much smaller. They are thin red or blue lines, close to the surface of the skin. They can look like tree branches or spiderwebs with their short, jagged lines. Spider veins are found on the legs and face and can cover either a small or very large area of skin.
How serious are spider veins?Spider veins are often a cosmetic disaster, with affected patients refusing to wear anything short, this behavior usually becomes entrenched. These veins can be treated effectively to restore the natural look of your legs and your self-confidence to wear summer clothing. Spider veins are a venous disorder and an underlying cause should always be sought in the form of venous hypertension. Assessment by a vein specialist will assist you in making an informed decision about treatment. Spider veins are often incorrectly treated with a quick laser or light session, without addressing underlying venous reflux / hypertension. This leads to unsatisfactory results, including the dreaded matting and early recurrence.How did I get spider veins?Several factors play a role in spider vein development including:
Older age - vein valves do not work as well
Family history of varicose or spider veins
Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, as well as the use of HRT.
Pregnancy - the pregnant uterus puts tremendous strain on your leg veins
Obesity - being overweight puts extra pressure on your veins
Lack of movement - sitting or standing for long periods of time, worse if your legs are crossed or bent.
Excessive sun exposure
It is important to identify your own risk factors and make lifestyle changes. Medical treatment will most likely treat your spider veins effectively, but cannot prevent recurrence.Should I have treatment?Treating spider veins often restores a patient's self-confidence and self-image. Spider veins have very little in terms of symptoms. Treatment options are diverse. The gold standard treatment in spider veins, remain sclerotherapy by a vein specialist. More recently surface laser, IPL and SVT has been developed. Due to skin color and vein size these modalities have limited application and often high failure rates. Cost and side-effect profiles between all modalities are similar.