Spider veins

Gone in a single treatment session!



“Spider veins” commonly arise on the faces of fair-skinned people who have spent time in the sun. They also famously arise in people who consume too much alcohol, but many patients with this condition are teetotal and get unfairly thought of as drinkers.


In the past, treatments included cautery and sclerotherapy, but today these have been redundant by the far more successful approach of laser.


Our vascular laser emits a narrow beam (under one mm in diameter) of green laser light. This light passes straight through the superficial layers of the skin, straight through the wall of the telangiectatic vessel, then hits the red blood cells inside. Because these cells are red, they completely absorb the green light energy, and they heat up. This heat in turn damages the inside of these abnormal blood vessels, and they close up, usually for ever.


The treatment stings, and the treated area looks generally pink straight afterwards, but this passes in hours to a few days. Larger telangiectasia will sometimes form a crust around two days after the treatment: this is a good sign that the vessel has been well treated, but at the time of the crusting you might look like a baby has scratched your cheeks.


Some of the vessels will occasionally re-open a couple of weeks after the treatment. This is why I quote an 80% reduction and not 100%. Such vessels are treated again, and usually stay closed thereafter.


Telangiectasia on the sides of the nostrils are a slightly different story, though. These bright vessels are very common, and represent little short-cuts between your arteries and your veins. Consequently, the blood in them flows at a higher pressure than is the case elsewhere on the face. And so, they are more likely to repair themselves after a treatment, and take more treatments to finally close over. Nonetheless, with persistence we get them in the end.


There is one more situation in which vessels become hard to treat. If you find you have developed telangiectasia at a specific location following surgery or a fracture (such as a fractured nose) it is likely that there is some fibrous tissue or scar tissue causing a backlog of blood into the telangiectasia. Such vessels are therefore under high pressure, and tend to re-form after treatment. I have found such telangiectasia difficult to eradicate (According to Murphy’s law of medicine, such difficulties only arise when treating friends or the wives of other doctors).


Telangiectasia on the neck are easy to treat, and are similar to telangiectasia on the decolletage. The skin at these sites is thinner than on the face, so care has to be taken to not over-treat.


Telangiectasia on the chest shoulders and upper back also close quite well. Some patients have fine visible veins due to an apparent thinness of skin at these sites, and the Iriderm is very helpful in closing these superficial blood vessels to improve the appearance.


Telangiectasia on the arms and hands are fairly easy to treat as well, althhough the further down the arm one goes the more resistant the vessels become, as hemostatic pressure from the up-hill flow of blood back to the heart maintains higher pressure in the vessels, sometimes forcing a re-opening.


Telangiectasia further down the trunk and onto the legs generally require specific assessment with view to sclerotherapy instead of laser treatment, although trunk telangiectasia often respond to IPL. Click over to sclerotherapy to find out more.


Campbell de Morgan spots are bright red spots the size of the head of a pin and are generally found on the trunk. Most Europeans get them as they get older. They are perfectly harmless, and do not signify any internal disease, so no-one really knows why they arise and no-one really cares, because they are very easy to treat with the Iriderm laser.


Spider naevi and spider telangiectasia are easy to treat with the Iriderm laser. They are associated with liver disease and exposure to high levels of oestrogen, such as in pregnancy or with taking the oral combined contraceptive pill. Anyone with spider naevi should ensure they don’t have some hitherto unrecognised liver condition. Ask your GP or ask Dr Mahony.


Our IPL can be used to treat telangiectasia, but tends to require more treatments to get the same effect. On the other hand, its light penetrates deeper and so we use it on slightly deeper, bluer vessels, with good results in improving vessel appearance rather than eradicating them.


Treatment with our vascular (“Iriderm”) laser gives us the fastest “Wow” factor of all the treatments we offer.  There’s just no reason to not clean up these unwanted broken blood vessels – the treatment is fast safe effective and affordable.


phone us on 9368 0100