Another problem frequently treated is Spider Veins. On the face many people are concerned that it makes them look like they are heavy drinkers. They can also be quite difficult to cover with makeup.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider Veins are larger blue or even purple coloured blood vessels that can occur anywhere on the skin. They are called Spider Veins because the vessels can form a network that resembles a spider web like pattern.
Where do Spider Veins occur?
The commonest area that we see Spider Veins is on the legs where they can occur in quite thick patches and often resemble bruises. On the face they are most common around the sides of the nose but can occur on the cheeks and chin as well.
What Causes Spider Veins?
They occur as a result of pressure from underlying vessels which causes blood to push back to the skin’s surface and produce prominent veins. In the legs they are typically associated with larger feeder Reticular Veins or Varicose Veins. Facial Spider Veins commonly occur around the side of the nose and are associated with conditions that cause more congestion and pressure in the area such as hayfever, sinus issues and frequent colds.
How are Spider Veins treated?
There are basically 3 methods to treat Spider Veins: Injections (called Sclerotherapy), Laser and Radiofrequency (using the VEINGOGH machine). At our clinic we have all 3 options available to us and the choice depends on the area being treated, the size of the blood vessels and the potential downtime.
Sclerotherapy with salt based solutions using very fine micro injections is the usual treatment of choice for leg spider veins as larger feeder veins also need to be treated.
On the face the commonest treatment we use for Spider Veins is by Laser. The results with laser treatment of facial Spider Veins has improved significantly over the years and the laser of choice is now the EXCEL V. This is what is called a dual wavelength laser as it has a 532 wavelength to target red blood vessels and a 1064 wavelength light to target larger blue blood vessels.
We also have the option of using radiofrequency energy from the VEINGOGH device which is very effective for removing Spider Veins. We generally reserve the VEINGOGH for resistant cases as it can take the skin slightly longer to heal than with Laser treatment.
On rare occasions we do use sclerotherapy injections on the face but great care must be taken as it is easy to inadvertently seal off small arterial blood vessels and cause a small area of skin damage resulting in a scar. Sclerotherapy should never be used to treat any veins around the eyes and only use Laser as it is much safer.
What are likely costs?
A typical EXCEL V laser treatment or VEINGOGH radiofrequency treatment of facial Spider Veins is $350. The Government will charge GST of 10%.
Very severe and large Facial Spider Veins can on occasion qualify for a Medicare rebate but the Government has strict criteria on who qualifies for this partial rebate.
Do Facial Spider Veins come back?
Facial Spider Veins have a great propensity to recur especially around the nose. If there is a history of sinus, hay fever or repeated URTI then the chance of recurrence is much higher. Patients often need to come in every year or so for retreatment.