What are Surface Veins?
Surface veins include telangiectasia and reticular veins, which are visible as red to purple “thread veins” on the skin surface, along with slightly larger blue/green veins just beneath the skin surface. Although mainly of cosmetic concern, these veins may be associated with discomfort in the legs, and may also be a sign of more serious underlying venous problems.
Assessment of Surface Veins
Although many people with visible surface veins can be treated successfully using direct vision sclerotherapy, it is important to exclude underlying larger vein incompetence, which may contribute to the appearance of surface veins.
All patients presenting to Dr McMaster for assessment of surface veins, varicose veins and other lower leg problems, will have an ultrasound scan of the leg veins completed in the clinic, to assess for any underlying venous abnormalities. As a fully trained Phlebologist in Australia, Dr McMaster has tertiary qualifications and extensive experience in venous ultrasound scanning. If larger underlying varicose veins are present, these should be treated prior to any surface veins, for the best outcome.
Management of Surface Veins
Often, surface veins can be managed with direct vision sclerotherapy alone. However, depending upon the results of the initial assessment and ultrasound scan, treatment of larger veins with ultrasound guided sclerotherapy or endovenous laser may be recommended initially.
DVS is a treatment which involves injection of small amounts of “sclerosant” into visible surface veins. This treatment is also known as microsclerotherapy, and is used to treat the small spider veins which appear on the legs and are often cosmetically disturbing. As well as the purple spider veins there are often feeding “reticular veins”, which are blue/green in appearance, slightly larger and slightly deeper within the skin.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS) also known as Echosclerotherapy, is the treatment of veins with injection of sclerosant with the assistance of ultrasound imaging. This will occur in people who have visible varicose veins, and occasionally in those with “incompetent” but not visible superficial veins, where there are other symptoms such as pain, or signs such as patches of surface veins.
Also known as Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVA), this is a very effective method for treatment of incompetent Superficial Trunk Veins, which are commonly the main problem underlying visible varicose veins. Dr McMaster uses EVLT to treat these veins in his rooms under local anaesthetic and ultrasound guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes this is the case and often the pattern of the surface veins will give an indication of this. However, surface veins also occur in isolation in people with no varicose vein issues.
Often the surface veins become progressively more widespread and visible, but they are not always progressive and may remain unchanged for many years.