What Causes Spider Veins on Legs?
Many factors increase a person’s chances of developing spider veins.
- Increasing age – as you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well.
- Medical history – being born with weak vein valves increases your risk. Having family members with vein problems also increases your risk.
- Hormonal changes – These occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking birth control pills and other medicines containing oestrogen and progesterone also may contribute to the forming of spider veins.
- External Temperature – hot showers and baths. Heat causes blood vessels to dilate.
- Pregnancy – during pregnancy, there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The growing uterus also puts pressure on the veins. More spider veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy.
- Obesity – being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your veins. This can lead to spider veins.
- Lack of movement – sitting or standing for a long time may force your veins to work harder to pump blood to your heart. This may be a bigger problem if you sit with your legs bent or crossed.
- Alcohol – alcohol increases blood pressure, causing veins to dilate. When the capillaries dilate repeatedly, they eventually lose their ability to contract. Eventually, they show up as broken blood vessels on the legs.
Thread Vein Removal: Legs
Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller. They also are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Often, they are red or blue. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short, jagged lines. They can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.
Varicose veins are not treatable with Microsclerotherapy.
Microsclerotherapy is the most common treatment for spider veins. It is a safe and effective treatment when aftercare advice is followed. A solution called a sclerosing agent is injected into the veins to break down the vein wall, eliminating the unsightly appearance of the veins.
The same vein may need to be treated more than once. The number of treatments required varies from person to person and it’s rare for veins to reappear following treatment.
Treatments are usually done every 4 to 6 weeks. To date, the use of lasers to treat leg veins are not as effective as Microsclerotherapy.
Some of the benefits that you will notice almost immediately:
- Results after one treatment
- Minimal recovery time
- Preventative treatment to larger veins
- Clear skin
Pre & Post Treatment Advice
Following your consultation Dr. Natalia may or may not consider you unsuitable for treatment.
Below are some of the Contraindications that may deem you unsuitable for treatment, because it may be harmful to the you. Please read them carefully.
You may not have treatment if you:
- Have broken skin or a skin infection.
- Have an allergy to a sclerant.
- Take aspirin or a product containing aspirin, as aspirin thins the blood
- Are taking any other blood-thinning medication
- Are pregnant
- Are unable to walk
- Have recurrent skin infections or cellulitis
- Have a history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
- Have a connective tissue disease such as lupus or scleroderma
- Have heart, liver, kidney or lung disease
- Have weak valves in your heart that require surgery
- Are diabetic
- Drink alcohol excessively – alcohol thins the blood and increases blood pressure so treatment will be unsuccessful
- Do not take aspirin for 7 days before treatment. This can be started again the next day. If you have been prescribed aspirin by your GP for a medical condition do not stop taking it. Please discuss with Dr. Natalia at the consultation before you stop taking any prescribed medication.
- Avoid sun exposure and tanning for 1-2 weeks before and after treatment to avoid pigmentation problems and skin damage
- Do not apply moisturizer or shave/wax your legs on the day of treatment
- Wear loose fitting clothing and comfortable shoes to allow for the thickness of the stockings – flip flops are not advised as they are difficult to wear with stockings
- Treatment should not be considered if you intend to fly overseas within the following two weeks. If you intend to fly within 14 days please discuss with Dr Natalia.
- You will be asked to go for a 30 – 40-minute walk immediately after treatment and then daily for 1 week.
- Maintain normal daily activities, but avoid standing still for long periods. Do not cross your legs, sit with legs crossed or kneel down in the first 2 weeks as this can cause irregular blood flow and restriction. Please note this may prohibit you from taking part in yoga/pilates classes
- Avoid strenuous physical activity such as swimming, spinning, running for three to four weeks after treatment since these activities increase the risk of blood flow returning into the treated veins.
- Do not use exfoliator or body brushes on legs for at least 2 weeks post-treatment as both increase blood flow.
- Wear compression stockings for 72 hours. For best results wear compression stockings during the day when possible.
- If you have any post-treatment bruising (which is rare) you may apply arnica cream, gently, to the area after 24 hours
- You are required to avoid any flights of 2-4 hours duration for 2 weeks and any flights of greater than 4 hours duration for 4 weeks after treatment.
- Avoid the use of any potentially irritating skincare in the first 48 hours – be aware of shampoos/conditioners that may flow onto your legs in the shower
- Avoid hot showers or baths
- Do not pick or scratch area, in particular do not scratch any scabs that may form – this may produce a scar or create a skin infection
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have broken blood vessels on your legs and are not contraindicated you are suitable for microsclerotherapy. Dr Natalia Bratu will have a full consultation with you to assess you for suitability. At this consultation you will have an ultrasound on the legs. You will have an opportunity to discuss facial areas of concern, the results you expect post-treatment, and your pre-treatment and post-treatment care. A full medical history will be taken which is, of course, completely confidential. It is important to give full disclosure of any medication you are taking so that you will get the best results possible.
No. If you have varicose veins you should attend a vascular surgeon to have your veins stripped first. Once this has been performed you can return to have your thread veins treated.
The treatment takes between 30 – 60 minutes.
Depending on the severity of blood vessels you may need a course of treatment with a minimum of 4 weeks between treatments. Dr Natalia will advise the best plan of treatment for you.
In general, treatment is not painful. You can feel a slight discomfort.
Icing pre-treatment is extremely beneficial and numbs the area to be treated and for most patients is a suitable pain reliever.
Treatment can be painful for women at certain times of their menstrual cycle when sensitivity is increased and it is advised not to have treatment at this time for your own comfort.
- Stinging, red and raised patches of skin, or bruises where the injection was made. These usually go away shortly after treatment.
- Spots, brown lines, or groups of fine red blood vessels around the treated vein. These also usually go away shortly after treatment.
- Lumps of blood that get trapped in vein and cause inflammation. This is not dangerous. You can relieve swelling by applying heat and taking aspirin. Dr Natalia can drain the trapped blood with a small pinprick at a follow-up visit. Please contact us if you notice unexpected inflammation.
While it is not possible to completely avoid broken blood vessels, there are several ways to minimize the risk.
- Avoid extremes of temperature where possible
- Avoid hot showers and baths always – heat causes blood vessels to dilate and break
- Avoid sun exposure for 4 weeks and use sunscreen
- Avoid waxing for 4 weeks
- Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol increases blood pressure, causing veins to dilate. When the capillaries dilate repeatedly, they eventually lose their ability to contract. Eventually, they show up as broken blood vessels on the body.