Telangiectasias, commonly known as spider veins, are clusters of small red or purple blood vessels that may appear on the thighs, calves, ankles, feet and occasionally, the face.
Spider veins are superficial and are not raised or palpable like varicose veins, however they can be unsightly and are often removed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon in order to improve a patient’s skin appearance.
Genetic factors involving poor circulation are typically the cause of spider veins. Some people are simply more likely to have weak valves in their blood vessels that break down over time, allowing blood to backflow through them. As blood builds up in the lower extremities, pressure increases, resulting in the formation of spider veins and varicose veins.
In addition to genetic predisposition, other risk factors for developing spider veins include:
Weight gain, pregnancy, hormone changes, crossing the legs for extended periods, standing for extended periods, trauma or impact, such as running.
clerotherapy, using a liquid sclerosing agent, or foam sclerotherapy are often the treatments of choice for spider veins that appear in the legs. Laser vein treatment options also exist and may be used as a standalone spider vein treatment or in conjunction with sclerotherapy.
For spider veins or broken capillaries that appear in the face, intense pulsed light (IPL) or Photo Facial treatment is typically the gold standard, particularly in patients with fair skin. For patients with dark or ethnic skin, treating facial spider veins with an Nd:Yag Laser (1064nm wavelength) is safer than IPL treatment.