Thread veins are essentially tiny veins and blood vessels that appear as red or bluish lines on the skin. They are commonly called “spider veins” or “broken veins” though the latter is somewhat of a misnomer since these veins are not broken, they are merely enlarged. These veins are not symptomatic of disease and as such thread veins ortelangiectasia as it is medically known, is more of an aesthetic problem rather than an illness.People who have thread veins especially on generally exposed areas of the skin like the face, hands or legs, often dislike the appearance of these veins. There are a number of thread vein treatment options, including the use of medical lasers, to help deal with the condition and improve the appearance of the skin.
What causes these spider veins?
Thread veins are generally the result of the veins beneath the skin dilating or becoming enlarged. There is no specific cause or reason for the occurrence but there are a number of factors that either trigger the condition or are commonly associated with it. For instance, they are very common among older people because as we age, the skin thins and the blood vessels and veins become less elastic.
They are also more common among women. The hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy and menopause are thought to contribute to the development of spider veins. Indeed, apart from hormonal changes, pregnancy brings with it increased pressure on your circulatory system, which can cause the dilation of the veins. Nevertheless thread veins that appear during pregnancy usually fade away afterwards.
Some people are genetically predisposed to the condition. Other factors that contribute towards development of thread veins include sun tanning, exposure to extreme temperatures and even cuts or injuries. Certain medical treatments like radiotherapy or steroid medications can increase the likelihood of developing these wiggly spider veins. If you have a job that requires you to stand for long periods of time, the increased pressure that you place on your legs can contribute to thread veins. Excessive consumption of alcohol is another trigger, as alcohol is known to cause blood vessels to dilate.
Laser treatment to the rescue
Laser therapy treatment for thread veins works by using pulses of laser light to heat and destroy the smaller blood vessels in your leg. The treatment is relatively painless as the laser is able to penetrate the skin without damaging the surrounding cells or surface skin. Each pulse takes less than a second and the sensation has been described as being similar to a rubber band snapping lightly against your skin. A local anaesthetic can be applied to minimise any pain associated with the procedure.
The number of sessions required will depend on the number of veins you want removed, the size of the veins as well as where they are located. Larger veins require sclerotherapy, which makes use of a tiny needle to inject a solution into the veins that damages the cells of the vein. The injected vein will then gradually wither and disappear.
Success rates and side effects
Doctors place the success rates of this treatment at around 90% as it is not always possible to get rid of all of the veins because some of them do not run parallel to the surface of the skin but go deeper into the skin, making it harder for lasers to reach them. With sclerotherapy, some patients experience bruising or skin discolouration that can take some time to fade away. The injected area can also be itchy immediately after treatment.
Early treatment for the best results
The general consensus is that smaller veins are easier to treat and therefore it is best to get treatment as early as possible. This prevents the condition from worsening and allows for the best results.Mr Thinktank]