What are Thread Veins?
Thread veins which are also sometimes called spider veins, telangiectasia or reticular veins, are prominent, small, superficial veins. Sometimes these veins are just prominent normal skin veins (these are termed reticular veins) or abnormal small veins in the skin which form either spontaneously or as the result of trauma or bruising.
Are they Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are bulging veins under the skin which are usually associated with the incompetence of valves of the larger veins. They appear to be under rather than in the skin and are larger than thread veins (which are usually no larger than 3mm in diameter but usually smaller). Both varicose veins and thread veins are very common and are sometimes seen together but not always so.
Are Thread Veins dangerous?
No. Although some people feel mild discomfort over thread veins (particularly at the knee and ankle), they are harmless and need no treatment other than for cosmetic reasons.
If they are left alone will they get worse?
Not necessarily - they may stay the same or with time more may develop. If the thread veins have appeared after trauma such as surgery or bruising they may improve with time - up to two years after the event.
Chest Before Treatment
Chest After Treatment
What treatments are available?
Laser, IPL (Intense Pulse Light) and Vein Injections (Sclerotherapy) are the most common treatments. All the treatments work by damaging the vessel wall so that either the vein clots and then disappears or the walls of the vein stick together and the vein disappears.
This is becoming increasingly popular for the treatment of smaller vascular cosmetic procedures.
Advanced Fluorescence Technology
(AFT or IPL - Intense Pulse Light)
This is a light based anthology to address vascular lesions (small superficial veins or redness including rosacea).
With injection a very small needle is used to inject the SDS (Sodium Tetradecyl Sulphate) into the thread vein. Each vein usually requires one injection, occasionally two. Often if there is a group of veins (a “spider”) then one injection may be enough to treat all the connecting veins. Most people find the pain of the injection similar to that of having hair plucked.
After the injection the area becomes red and discoloured and the small vein sometimes clots. There is mild discomfort.