varicose veins treatment

Concerned about the appearance of fine veins on your legs? Finding yourself covering up or making excuses to avoid wearing shorts or going to the beach? If you are affected by spider veins, you should know that you’re not alone and there are treatment options available.

Dr Adrian Ling has been providing sclerotherapy near me to patients in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne for many years now and can answer all of your questions about the condition and treatment.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are coloured, visible veins that appear on the surface of the skin. You normally find spider veins on either your legs or your face and they tend to be blue, red, or purple in colour.

The role of veins is to carry deoxygenated blood and other waste products back to the heart.

Spider veins and varicose veins differ in that varicose veins tend to be quite enlarged and may cause other painful symptoms. Spider veins, on the other hand, tend to sit below the surface of the skin and are less than 1mm in diameter. The main concern associated with spider veins is their cosmetic appearance, rather than pain or reduced blood flow.

Symptoms and risk factors

Spider veins don’t tend to have concerning symptoms of their own. Some people experience a burning sensation in the spider veins. Most patients seek treatment because they are concerned or embarrassed about the appearance of visible veins on their legs rather than battling painful or dangerous associated symptoms. This can result in decreased self-confidence and increased anxiety about the appearance of their legs.

The risk factors for developing spider veins tend to be quite similar to varicose veins and many other types of vascular disease. They include:

  • Age: As we get older, veins and valves naturally degrade and lose strength, increasing the risk of spider veins occurring.
  • Genetics: Genetics and family history are believed to play a substantial role in the likelihood of an individual developing spider veins.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, additional weight from the growing fetus is placed on the legs and can make the work of veins and valves significantly harder.
  • Weight: Similarly, people who are overweight may be more likely to develop spider veins due to the additional pressure placed on their legs.
  • Sex: While both men and women can be affected by spider veins, the condition tends to target females more than males. There are many reasons for this, including the hormone oestrogen, which is more prevalent in females and has been linked to reduced vein health.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: People who spend extended periods of time standing are putting additional pressure on valves in the legs to continue pumping. Spending a day on your feet will not put you at risk, but those who spend days on end standing — nurses, for example — often develop spider veins as a side effect.

Sclerotherapy explained

Sclerotherapy is one of the most common treatment strategies used against spider veins. It is minimally invasive and tends to be quite effective, even in the treatment of small varicose veins.

What does sclerotherapy involve? Your vascular specialist will inject a chemical solution into the affected veins. The solution will cause veins to become inflamed. Over time, the veins will close over and fade.

Depending on the severity of your spider veins, multiple rounds of sclerotherapy may be required.

Some patients express concern at possible side effects of this treatment. Dr Ling will be able to provide comprehensive advice on this tailored to your situation and health condition. Generally speaking, patients may experience some minor side effects, including bruising, reddened skin, and darkened lines in the affected area. Very rarely will a patient be affected by more serious complications, like inflammation, blood clots, or an allergic reaction. If you have any concerns regarding side effects, speak to Dr Ling prior to treatment taking place.

Sclerotherapy is a relatively non-invasive procedure. It certainly does not require bed rest or a significant period of time spent away from your favourite hobbies and everyday activities. Dr Ling will be able to provide more tailored information about what to expect post-treatment, but many patients find they are back to their standard level of activity (including exercise) within a short time frame.

For more information about sclerotherapy near me and to discuss your vascular concerns with Dr Ling, book an appointment today. Please note a referral from your general practitioner is required.