Spider veins, varicose veins and other vascular lesions typically appear on the skin as red, blue, or purple marks and can be a little unsightly and even painful. Whether your concern is aesthetic or medical, there are treatments available to diminish or erase the appearance of these conditions.
What Are Vascular Lesions?
There is a range of conditions which can result in the appearance of vascular lesions leaving a number of unwanted marks, veins, vessels and spots which we can make us feel self-conscious.
Rosacea tends to affect the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, and is characterised by persistent redness caused by dilated blood vessels, small bumps and spots similar to acne.
Although not fully understood, there are several theories regarding the cause of rosacea, including genetic, environmental, vascular and inflammatory factors. Skin damage due to chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation also plays a part.
Spider veins, also referred to as leg thread veins, can appear on the surface of the skin. They can appear blue, purple or red in colour and are thin lines that look a little like a web or branch.
They are usually not painful or harmful but can be annoying and affect your confidence when you want to bare your legs, particularly in the summer months. Spider veins are different from varicose veins which are larger and deeper, may appear lumpy or twisted and are usually flesh coloured or red.
Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly. In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. The blood is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through.
If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged (varicose). Certain things can increase your chances of developing varicose veins, such as:
- being female
- having a close family member with varicose veins
- being older
- being overweight
- having a job that involves long periods of standing
- being pregnant
- other conditions
Angiomas (e.g. Cherry Angioma)
Cherry angiomas, or red moles, are common skin growths that can develop on most areas of your body. They’re also known as senile angiomas or Campbell de Morgan spots. They’re usually found on people aged 30 and older. The collection of small blood vessels inside a cherry angioma give them a reddish appearance. This type of skin growth is typically not a cause for concern unless it bleeds often or changes in size, shape, or color.
A cherry angioma is often bright red, circular or oval in shape, and small — usually ranging in size from a pinpoint to about one-fourth of an inch in diameter. Some cherry angiomas appear smooth and even with your skin, while others appear slightly raised. They most often grow on the torso, arms, legs, and shoulders.
Haemangiomas (benign cluster of blood vessels)
A haemangioma is a collection of small blood vessels that form a lump under the skin. They’re sometimes called ‘strawberry marks’ because the surface of a haemangioma can look like the surface of a strawberry. Eighty percent of haemangiomas don’t develop any problems at all and, in those that do, the problems aren’t always severe.
Haemangiomas can be superficial or deep; some are a combination of the superficial and deep kinds, with a raised, red area on the surface of the skin, and a bluish swelling that comes from deeper in the skin.
The type, size and location of the condition will ultimately determine which treatment plan is best for you, and our specialists will walk you through the options during your consultation.
Laser treatments are now a routine procedure for the removal of many types of vascular concerns of the face and body. The perfect vascular solution is long-pulse Nd:YAG laser.
The energy from the laser is absorbed by the blood in the vein and converted into heat, destroying the vein walls. Nd:YAG light also targets the underlying vascular feeding system, which is important for ensuring the long-term efficacy of the treatment.
This process is perfectly safe as the blood supply to the treated area is maintained by other vessels and the dead tissue is removed by the body in the same way as a bruise.
Independent research shows that patients treated with Nd:YAG lasers see a quick and dramatic regression in vascular lesions.
The location of the lesion will determine what strength of treatment we are able to use; most leg and facial veins will see permanent regression to a specific vein area with 2-3 treatments.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins and spider veins. The process involves inserting a small tube into the vein and injecting it with a fluid called a sclerosing agent. This irritates the vein, causing it to shut down and become reabsorbed by the body. Varicose veins will require a more in-depth procedure such as ambulatory phlebotomy or endovenous laser treatment.
Most patients resume regular activities less than 24 hours after their sclerotherapy treatment. Several treatment sessions may be required for best results.