What are thread veins?
Thread veins are tiny blood vessels which run close to the surface of the skin and look like fine red, or sometimes purple, wiggly lines. They’re also sometimes called ‘spider veins’ or ‘broken veins’, although the veins aren’t infact broken but only slightly enlarged. The medical term for them is telangiectasia.
What causes them?
Usually there’s no obvious cause. Thread veins tend to develop as we age and our skin and blood vessels become less elastic. Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and the menopause are thought to provoke their development – the reason why women are more prone to them than men.
You can also inherit a family tendency to the problem. Other causes include too much sunbathing, exposure to wind or extreme temperatures, cortico-steroid medicines and radiotherapy. Jobs that involve prolonged standing may aggravate the condition, but they don’t actually cause it. Although you may not like the look of them, thread veins aren’t dangerous, but they tend to become larger and increase in number over time.
Who gets them?
Nearly all of us as we age. Around one in five women in their 20s have thread veins, a figure that rises to around half by the age of forty and continues to increase. By the age of 70 over 70 per cent of women have some thread veins.
How do we treat them?
Here at Select Medical we use a treatment called hyfrecation, similar to VeinWave. Anaesthetic cream is applied to the face and then a tiny needle, thinner that a hair, is used to touch each vein and a burst of microwave energy applied for a second or less. This coagulates the blood in the vessed and then your body reabsorbs the blood vessel over a week or so. The effect can be seen immediately.
Sometimes new vessels open up later on and further treatment sessions may be required. THe procedure takes about 15 minutes and then antiseptic cream is applied. You must keep your face clean so as to minimise any risk of infection.
What areas can be treated?
We only treat facial spider veins. on other areas such as the legs the veins can be much more extensive and we woudo recommend laser treatment for that or referral to a vascular surgeon depending on the cause.