About Thread Veins
1. What are Thread Veins?
Dilated small veins in the skin itself are sometimes called "thread veins", "spider veins" "broken veins" or "flare veins". Although these may be unsightly they are not the same as varicose veins. Very small spider veins are called Telangiectasias. Click here for photos.
2. What causes Thread Veins?
Thread veins are more common in women, often run in the family and are more likely to occur as you get older. They are often associated with varicose veins or may occur in isolation. Indeed, thread veins occasionally become worse after varicose vein surgery particularly if they are present prior to operation. They sometimes arise at the site of previous injury or bruising. They may also be caused by pregnancy or weight gain that increases pressure on the leg veins.
3. What trouble do they cause?
Thread veins are very common and cause embarrassment from a cosmetic viewpoint. Although they may look unsightly, they usually cause no symptoms at all. Very occasionally, local discomfort / irritation or aching in the leg may occur, but this is exceptionally rare.
4. What tests are required?
In many cases a simple examination plus a painless test with an ultrasound probe (Doppler) is all that is needed to enable your specialist to decide what needs to be done. If there is any suspicion of varicose veins then a full ultrasound scan (Duplex) of your leg veins will be required. Treatment of Spider veins without exclusion of an underlying varicose vein problem (venous reflux) can worsen the appearance. It is vital you are initially assessed by a specialist.
5. Do I need treatment?
Treatment for spider veins is not essential since they do not cause serious complications. However, many patients seek to improve the appearance of their legs.
6. What treatment is available?
Micro-injections (Microsclerotherapy) - The majority of thread veins on the legs are suitable for Microsclerotherapy. This uses a very fine needle under magnification to inject sclerosant directly into the visible veins. In experienced hands it is an extremely effective treatment.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Laser can be used to treat very small "red" telangiectasias that are too small to inject.