VARICOSE VEINS & SURFACE VEINS (or “Spider Veins”) ARE NOT THE SAME!
Telangiectasia (Reticular veins) or Spider veins, these are small capillaries which twist and turn and are visible under the skin. Either type can be either bluish/purple or red in colour. They usually form distinct networks or webs – the larger are termed Telangiectasia, and if very tiny- are often termed Spider Veins:
- most often predominately of cosmetic importance
- usually harmless, but can cause localised discomfort
- Diagnostic Duplex scans are required as overall, at least 20% of these “surface veins” – telangiectasia – (the larger veins – 88% * ) or – less commonly with spider veins, have underlying deeper varicose, not always visible. (* ref: Ruckley, C. V.; Allan, P. L.; Evans, C. J.; Lee, A. J.; Fowkes, F. G. R. (2011). “Telangiectasia and venous reflux in the Edinburgh Vein Study”. Phlebology 27
Thus, Duplex Ultrasound scanning, is necessary before planning to treat surface veins. as if any existing larger underlying varicose veins are treated first, most of the overlying telangiectasia , and, less commonly spider veins, may disappear. following Duplex/Visual Guided Sclerotherapy.
If, however, the superficial telangiectasia or spider veins are treated first, they will inevitably return or even increase in severity.
However, both telangiectasias and especially spider veins, do not respond very well and often not to the patient’s expectations and have an increased tendency to recur or worsen to an appreciably greater extent, than may be inherent for the larger conventional varicose veins, and surface veins may require ongoing future treatments to control.
Treatment of Surface Veins
- Laser for Surface Veins
Laser treatment is often less effective than sclerotherapy, particularly in comparison with treatment for telangiectasia or reticular larger surface veins.
Subsequent to laser treatment, there may be some redness, bruising, itching, swelling and there may also be permanent skin tone changes.