Unsightly leg veins are a common problem that affect up to 84% of the population. These abnormal veins may appear as varicose veins, spider veins (telangiectasia), or a combination of both.
Apart from being aesthetically unpleasant, they may also be accompanied by symptoms such as leg discomfort, water retention, or even ulcers and infections.

What are varicose veins and how to treat them?

Varicose veins are abnormal blood vessels that have a bulging, rope-like appearance. They appear when the vein walls and valves weaken, which lead to blood flowing backwards, which causes collects in the veins, becoming swollen and enlarged.

The exact cause of vein wall and valve weakening is multifaceted and can be attributed to gender predisposition (females are predisposed to develop varicose veins), genetics, ageing, overweightness, long periods of standing, pregnancy and others.

Endovenous laser treatment

In recent years, endovenous treatment has gained popularity due to shorter downtime and smaller scars in treating varicose veins. At SL Aesthetic Clinic, we use our Fotona laser endovenously to treat such varicose veins.

This is a one-time procedure and is priced between $600+ to $1000+ depending on the size of the treatment area.

What are spider veins and how to treat them?

Spider veins, also known as telangiectasia, are small abnormal vessels just under the skin surface. They are common in people over 30 years old and pregnant women, and appear when blood pools near the surface of the skin.

The exact cause of spider veins are not known but are linked to ageing, genetics, trauma (e.g., constant leg crossing), and fluctuations in hormonal levels.

Spider veins are fine lines that resemble a spider, or a spider’s legs. Although they do not usually bulge out like varicose veins, they are noticeable due to a blue-reddish colour that stands out from the surrounding skin.

Here are various methods to remove spider veins.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a sclerosant directly into the spider veins using a small needle. This causes the spider veins to seal shut, which eventually become absorbed into the surrounding tissue.

Because blood no longer flows through these shut-off veins, the bluish-reddish colour subsides, and may even disappear completely.

Sclerotherapy injection causes minimal pain and downtime. Some may experience temporary bruising, itching or discomfort at the injection sites which often recovers quickly.

This is not currently being offered here at SL Aesthetic Clinic.

Skin Lasers

Lasers work by delivering energy in a very precise and controlled manner to selectively destroy the spider veins. While sclerotherapy has been the preferred treatment for spider veins in the legs, recent studies have shown that sclerotherapy and lasers can achieve similar results, in particular the Nd:YAG laser.

An advantage of lasers is the ability to remove spider veins that are too small to be injected by sclerotherapy needles.

Also, lasers do not require needles or injection of sclerosants, so those with a fear of needles or have allergic reactions to sclerosants will benefit from laser treatment.

Nd:YAG Laser

The first Nd:YAG lasers were specifically developed for treating vascular skin abnormalities. Hence it is no surprise that the 1064nm Nd:YAG laser is one of the preferred lasers for treating spider veins!

It is a versatile laser which can treat both red and blue spider veins located at various depths under the skin. It is also more suitable for darker skin types as it is less likely to cause blistering and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation compared to other lasers.

This is why we also use the Nd:YAG laser for skin rejuvenation and pigmentation removal!

This non-invasive one-time procedure is priced from $500+ to $1000+ depending on the size of the treatment area.

Pulse-dye Lasers

Pulse-dye lasers have good results in treating superficial spider veins, but are less effective than the Nd:YAG laser in treating deep spider veins.

Some individuals may also find pulse-dye lasers more painful than the Nd:YAG laser. As pulse-dye lasers tend to be absorbed by melanin, they may result in more unwanted side effects when used on darker skin types.

This procedure is currently not being offered at SL Aesthetic Clinic.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Other than sclerotherapy and lasers, IPL can also be used to remove spider veins. As with lasers, no needles or injections are required. Both superficial and deep spider veins may be treated by IPL, but one disadvantage is the tendency to cause blistering and other unwanted side effects in darker-skinned individuals.

Lifestyle Measures

Regardless of the treatment method, certain lifestyle measures are important in preventing recurrence of varicose and spider veins. These include maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, avoidance of prolonged standing, and smoking cessation.

Why choose SL Aesthetic Clinic?

Every individual is different, from the stage and severity of their vein condition, skin colour, pain tolerance, and even down to personal preferences.

Sometimes, a few sessions are needed to achieve good results. Do ask about pain relief as well, as the various treatments can cause discomfort. However, fret not as there are many ways that the discomfort can be relieved!

Make SL Aesthetic Clinic your choice because:

  • No need for invasive surgery
  • No need for general anaesthesia
  • No hospitalisation
  • Minimal pain
  • No downtime

With so many treatment options to choose from, it is important to have a proper assessment with your doctor in order to find the best treatment plan that suits your needs.

FAQ

1. Will spider veins come back?

The spider veins that have been treated are destroyed and are reabsorbed by the body so they do not come back. However, this does not mean your body will stop forming new spider veins. But as before, these spider veins can just as effectively be treated.

2. How long will treatment take?

Every patient is different. The number of sessions will vary depending on the severity of your condition. Most patients require about 3 to 6 sessions.

Your legs will show gradual improvement in as little as a few weeks after treatment, with better results seen after several sessions. With sufficient treatment and healing, the spider veins and bulging varicose veins will be gone.

3. What are the pre- and post- treatment instructions?

There are generally no specific instructions prior to treatment so long as you are healthy with a clean bill of health with no active infections or disorders.

Post-treatment, there aren’t any restrictions on physical activity as well; in fact, exercise is encouraged. We do however discourage prolonged sun exposure to treated areas for at least a couple of weeks after each treatment, even if with sun protection.

4. Will removing these veins affect my blood circulation?

These damaged veins are actually a burden to your circulatory system. When treated, your legs will feel lighter as circulation has improved. This is because the blood flow has been re-routed into stronger, healthier, deeper veins.

5. Will varicose veins come back?

Treatment of spider and varicose veins means these are permanently destroyed. However, this does not prevent new diseased veins from forming if no preventive measures are taken.

6. I have had vein surgery. Can I remove more veins?

The short answer is yes! The venous system is a very wide network of interconnected blood vessels with a comfortable redundancy buffer. The superficial veins that we treat do not play a significant role in your blood circulatory system, even when they are normal. To that, we also do not remove functioning veins, which you will not “run out” of.

7. Will removing my veins affect my chances of a heart bypass surgery?

The answer is no. A heart surgeon requires a normal-sized, straight and healthy vein to bypass an obstructed coronary artery. So the varicose and spider veins that we treat are not even worth considering! There are plenty of other sources available for the heart surgeon for a bypass surgery.

8. Are varicose veins just cosmetic? Will they cause any harm if they are not treated?

While they may not pose any immediate medical problems, some varicose veins can lead to ulcers or sores on your legs, blood clots, or chronic inflammation which can be painful and affect daily activities. In severe cases, your veins could even rupture.

9. What can I do to prevent varicose veins?

  • Regular exercise
  • Getting enough rest
  • Eating a healthy diet to keep your weight down
  • Support stockings and herbal supplements have been shown to alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins but cannot treat or heal diseased veins
[29 Jul 2021] A blog post by Dr. Wei Xiang

Dr Ko Wei Xiang

Dr Wei Xiang – The Artist
MBBS, Singapore; MRCS, Edinburgh

Dr Wei Xiang has been heavily involved in the arts throughout his life. During his formative school years, he studied fine arts under the prestigious Art Elective Programme, where he developed his artistic talent and creative expression across various media, including painting, charcoal, digital media and photography.

After graduating from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 2014, Wei Xiang pursued postgraduate surgical training in a residency programme, where he honed his surgical skills over the years. His artistic side remained strong, and he constantly yearned to express a greater aesthetic element in his work. In 2019, he left his surgical career in search of his calling.

A fateful encounter with Dr Kelvin Chua brought Wei Xiang into the world of Aesthetic Medicine. It was in Aesthetic Medicine where Wei Xiang found his “ikigai” of sorts. Under Kelvin’s mentorship, Wei Xiang grew steadily and became adept at a wide range of aesthetic procedures including Botox, fillers, lasers, HIFU, Thermage, Ultherapy and PicoCare Laser. His keen eye for beauty, coupled with his steady hands, allows him to bring out the best in his patients.

Wei Xiang occasionally still creates artwork in his free time, when he is not spending time with his wife and daughter, or jamming and making music.


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