Thread veins are the tiny blood vessels that have become dilated and are noticeable on the surface of the skin. Also referred to as “broken veins” or “spider veins”, thread veins affect nearly every part of the body, but mostly the legs because of the reduced ability of the veins to push blood to the heart with age.
There are many likely causes of thread veins, including genetics, hormonal changes, sunbathing, obesity, and steroid medicines, among others. Being on your feet for extended periods can make the veins more pronounced, but they do not affect your health.
If you wish to get rid of thread veins on your legs, your doctor may recommend a few treatments, including:
- Laser therapy – The specialist applies pulses of laser light to destroy the tiny blood cells. For thin red veins close to the surface, the specialist may use a pulsed dye laser. But for the deeper blue veins, a YAG laser with a longer wavelength may be necessary to reach them.
- Sclerotherapy – This treatment is recommended for veins bigger than 4mm. The specialist inserts a tiny needle and injects a solution to destroy the vein walls. This causes the vein to shrink and disappear gradually, over a period of 8 weeks.
- Electrolysis – This treatment is rarely used
Most clinics use a combination of sclerotherapy and laser therapy. The former helps to remove the larger veins, while laser therapy helps to clear up the area. The treatments are spaced about 8 weeks apart. With 3 treatments, it may take 6 months for you to achieve the final result.