What’s the best way to treat problem veins?
Problem veins can be a cause for concern for a range of reasons. Whether they are leading to pain or discomfort or they most bother you for cosmetic reasons, there’s no need to put up with them.
If you’re looking for a way to treat your problem veins here’s what you need to know...
Treating problem veins
Problem veins can appear for a range of reasons such as genetics, age, weight, gender, hormonal changes or even your occupation if you are on your feet for a large portion of your day.
Spider veins are most commonly found on the face or legs. They are usually flat or slightly raised, blue, purple or red in colour and appear in the shape of thin lines or webs.
Facial spider veins occur when the small blood vessels in the dermis proliferate, usually as a result of sun damage, increased pressure or straining (like forceful sneezing, coughing or during childbirth), excessive alcohol use or skin diseases such as rosacea, eczema or acne.
Spider veins on the legs appear for a different reason. Leg spider veins occur when the blood pools in nearby larger veins, which spills or overflows into smaller neighbouring veins. While they are not usually painful, many patients prefer to treat their spider veins for cosmetic reasons.
There are a few approaches you can take to treat your spider veins:
- Retinol/Vitamin A creams: If you only have one or a few small spider veins, you may be able to minimise their appearance by using a retinol cream. Regular use of a retinol cream will help to build collagen in the dermis and make the veins less visible.
- Laser or Intense Pulse Light (IPL): For more prominent spider veins, laser or IPL are effective treatment options. Laser and IPL vein treatments work by emitting light into the affected area, which is absorbed by the blood inside the vein and converted to heat. This causes the vein to clot and shrink until they are no longer visible. Various laser treatments can be used to treat spider veins including Aura Laser, Laser Genesis, YAG Laser or IPL. We will advise which laser treatment will be most effective based on your individual condition.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is another highly effective vein treatment. Using very small micro-needles, a sclerosant solution is injected into the affected vein/s. The sclerosant irritates the walls of the vein, causing it to clot and contract until it disappears completely.
Varicose veins appear for a different reason to spider veins—when the small valves in a vein become weak, it causes the blood in the vein to pool and it can become twisted and swollen.
A common issue which affects more than 25% of the population, varicose veins are usually found on the legs and are much larger and deeper than spider veins. They can appear lumpy and twisted and can vary in colour from flesh-coloured through to red, purple or blue. In some cases, varicose veins can also cause significant pain, itching, bleeding and swelling of the ankles and legs. Severe varicose veins can also be associated with an increased risk of blood clots and circulation problems.
There are several ways to treat varicose veins:
- Compression stockings: In mild cases, compression stocking can help by improving blood circulation. They can minimise pain and discomfort and prevent veins from deteriorating further. It is however unlikely that compression stockings will be able to address the underlying cause and it is likely you will need an additional form of treatment to address the underlying condition.
- Sclerotherapy: In addition to being able to treat spider veins, sclerotherapy is also a highly effective way to treat varicose veins. It is considered the gold standard treatment for leg veins as it not only treats the main offending vein, but it can also prevent smaller veins from progressing into larger bulging varicose veins. Sclerotherapy can be performed as a standard treatment or it can be combined with ultrasound technology which makes it easier to monitor its effectiveness, leading to less discomfort and a quicker recovery.
- Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment (EVLT): EVLT is ideal for treating larger veins such as the Greater Saphenous and Small Saphenous veins. By inserting a fibre-optic probe which emits heat-generating laser light into the problem vein, the vein will shrink and close. It offers a relatively quick recovery time (patients are usually walking immediately following treatment) and can also be combined with sclerotherapy to treat any remaining varicose or spider veins.
- Vein surgery: While the other less-invasive vein treatment methods mentioned here are generally preferred, in some cases, such as where the main valves in larger veins the groin or back of the knee are defective, vein surgery may be required. Ambulatory Phlebectomy which involves surgical extraction using only very small incisions is generally preferred, however, if the vein requires ligation or stripping, traditional vein surgery may be the only option. While vein surgery is highly effective at treating problem veins, the recovery is usually longer and it may leave some visible scars. Your doctor will discuss the most suitable treatment method with you during your consultation.
Treat your problem veins at Me Clinic
Winter is the best time of the year to treat problem veins. If you have been considering treating your problem veins, don’t wait until next year.
We still have available appointments so you can treat your spider or varicose veins while the weather is still cool, with plenty of time to recover before the warmer weather arrives.