For many, they are an unavoidable fact of life, but what exactly are thread veins, and how can they be treated? This short guide unpacks the facts.
A definition of thread veins
Thread veins are small blood vessels which, when dilated, become visible on the top layer of skin. Thanks to their leggy appearance, they are often called “spider veins”. They affect around 80% of adults and occur most commonly on the legs but can also appear on the face, chest or hands. Although generally considered a cosmetic problem, they can cause itching or burning sensations, and can even indicate deeper issues such as hidden varicose veins.
What causes thread veins on the legs?
Thread veins occur when the one-way valves that allow blood to flow back up towards the heart become weakened and malfunction. This results in blood pooling in smaller non-functional veins. Causes include pregnancy, sitting/standing for long periods, obesity, hormone fluctuations, heredity, age and underlying conditions.
Are thread veins on the legs different to thread veins on the face?
Despite being similar in appearance, the process by which thread veins manifest on the legs differs from how they appear on the face. Thanks to gravity and the legs being below the heart, blood higher up in the veins keeps the smaller veins filled, not helped by the weakened valves. The face, however, has a better blood supply, allowing the blood to be carried away more efficiently. For this reason, the appearance of these veins on the face is often attributed instead to arterial pressure and associated underlying causes.
Are thread veins dangerous?
Thread veins are generally considered a cosmetic issue in and of themselves. However, they are often associated with hidden varicose veins, which can sometimes present complications such as:
- Trauma to the affected area, causing bleeding that is difficult to stop.
- The formation of blood clots leading to swelling or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
What is the best thread veins treatment option?
Microsclerotherapy is the most well-established procedure for successful thread vein treatment. This minimally-invasive walk-in-walk-out procedure involves the use of fine needles, and it does not require a general anaesthetic. In most cases, you can drive and even go back to work on the same day.
Microsclerotherapy aims to improve appearance, relieve minor discomfort, and leave minimal scarring. Your treatment journey begins with a comprehensive assessment and a scan. This process gives the surgeon the information needed to tailor your treatment and achieve optimal results.
How much is thread vein removal?
Getting a reliable quote can be a minefield, especially when pricing structures vary from clinic to clinic. Try to get a fixed-price quote from the clinics that you approach and check that it includes any necessary scans, the required treatment and follow-up. This will give you peace of mind that you know the full cost of your individually-tailored treatment plan before you commence.
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