How do veins form?
Veins have the function of carrying blood to the heart. Blood collects in the superficial veins, very close to the top of the skin surface and is delivered to the deeper veins that are located in our calf muscles. A lot of force is required to keep the blood pumping towards the heart and the stream is going against gravity. Veins contain one-way valves which prevent the blood from travelling backwards.
Over time some of these valves fail to close properly which results in blood pooling, causing superficial veins. These veins may become varicose over time with an unsightly dark blue, twisted and knobbly appearance. These veins usually measure over 3 mm in diameter. Over time they can become larger and elongated. This usually happens over a period of time, usually years due to the blood pressure inside those veins.
Varicose veins can occur in people due to their genetics, however other factors could be the cause such as obesity, prolonged sitting or standing and also pregnancy. Varicose Veins may not cause any discomfort to the patient. In some cases, it may cause pigmentation or a rash to ankles and calves and also swelling and tenderness.
Spider veins are like varicose veins, but smaller and very close to the surface of the skin. They are often red or blue and can look like tree branches or spider webs. They are mostly found on people’s legs or even face. They may cover a small or large area. They usually measure less than 1mm in diameter.
Treatment of varicose veins and spider veins is not just for cosmetic reasons. Varicose vein disease can cause many health problems, such as blood clots, venous eczema, skin breakdown and ulceration, and rarely, skin cancers.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your veins, we recommend that you seek evaluation and diagnosis by a qualified Doctor to determine the degree of varicose veins and also to possibly prevent more serious infections or thrombosis, i.e. clotting of the veins.
What are some of the causes of veins?
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Lack of circulation
Deep varicose veins that go through the calf muscles may cause some
of the following symptoms
- Skin rashes, ulcers and brown stains on the skin surface caused by burst capillaries
- Formation of blood clots
- Aching legs
How to prevent spider and varicose veins
- Regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Wear support stockings
- Avoid high heels as these may affect the function of larger veins
Our treatment options for varicose veins and spider veins
Sclerotherapy is a non surgical technique that has been around for many years using the injection of a TGA approved substance that seals the veins causing their walls to collapse therefore sealing and shutting them down. This process can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. The fine needles used do not cause too much discomfort. A burning sensation may be present after the injection but this soon disappears after the treatment. Multiple treatments may be required and these are usually spread apart by some weeks.
2. Vein Gogh – Ohmic Thermolysis
This relatively new treatment is done by directly placing a small needle in the spider vein and focusing heat energy (radio frequency). This device is safe for all skin types. It works better than all other methods of treatment for small reddish veins that are difficult to inject. You may experience some pain, but ice and other methods are used to minimize pain.
3. Laser Therapy
Laser therapy for veins utilises heat to coagulate the vascular lesion almost instantly, deeper lesions may need multiple treatments. This treatment is suitable on all skin types and is best for telangiectasia, broken capillaries and superficial spider veins. OoLaLa Cosmetic Laser Clinic has different lasers available to treat these areas.
Find out more about laser treatments for veins here.
Recommendations after your vein treatments
We recommend taking walks to keep the blood flow and circulation moving. The use of a compression garment is advisable and it reduces the risk of swelling and bruising and also prevents complications such as blood clotting. Regular exercise, weight control and the use of support stockings (if practical) are recommended between treatments.
Dr Jeffery conducts an initial consultation with patients before sclerotherapy treatments begin. This consultation is necessary to evaluate whether patients are eligible to receive sclerotherapy.