Broken Capillaries & Spider Vein Removal

What are broken capillaries?

Broken capillaries, medically called telangiectasias, are dilated small blood vessels visible on the surface of the skin. They typically appear as reddish streaks or blotches on the face known as broken capillaries or bluish net-like lesions on the lower extremities called spider veins.

Click here to read more about Spider veins

How are broken capillaries formed?

Capillaries are very tiny vascular nets formed between arteries and veins. They are in charge of transporting oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. Capillaries are located throughout the entire body tissue including deeper levels of the skin. When the skin is damaged and thinned then capillaries become visible on the surface of the skin. They also can enlarge and grow up to the surface, become visible with a weblike appearance, or form red bumps on the skin called cherry angiomas. They may even have a cherry angioma in the middle of a network of broken capillaries, which is named spider angiomas.

Where are the common locations for broken capillaries?

Broken capillaries are typically red in appearance and located on the nose, chin, or cheek.
Spider veins tend to be bluish and are located on the lower extremities.
Cherry angiomas are bright red bumps that appear predominantly on the torso, but common elsewhere as well Spider angiomas are pinkish and are usually on the chest or face.

What causes broken capillaries?

Aging of the skin, genetics, sun damage, smoking, trauma, heat, alcohol, direct prolonged pressure on the skin, irritating topicals, pregnancy, hormones, poor circulation, prolonged standing, diet, and medications.

Is rosacea the same as broken capillaries?

No, however rosacea can present with broken capillaries. Rosacea is a chronic and recurrent inflammatory skin disease that primarily involves the central face. Beside broken capillaries, redness and pimples are hallmarks of rosacea.

Can broken capillaries be a sign of internal disease?

Broken capillaries are typically only of cosmetic concern; however they can be a skin manifestation of internal diseases such as liver disease, alcoholism, rare genetic syndromes, or autoimmune diseases. Your dermatologist will ask you specific questions that will provide insight if further evaluation for internal disease is required.

How do we treat broken capillaries?

  • Sclerotherapy with hypertonic saline
  • Sclerotherapy with irritation solution called sclerosant
  • Special type of cautery
  • IPL
  • Lasers

How does laser work for broken capillaries?

Various types of lasers have been used to treat broken capillaries. Lasers that treat broken capillaries best are those that target hemoglobin in blood vessels of the skin. After exposure to the laser, the vessels collapse and are eventually removed. The most commonly used lasers for broken capillaries are the pulsed dye lasers. Laser is usually used for broken capillaries on the head or neck. The main side effect with these lasers is bruising at the site of treatment that resolves within a few days. Multiple treatments may be required.

How does sclerotherapy work for broken capillaries?

Sclerotherapy is a common treatment modality for broken capillaries on the legs. Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting a solution directly into the vessel of concern. The sclerosing solution works by causing damage to the cells that line the vessels, eventually leading to destruction of the vessel. There are various potential complications that will be reviewed with your dermatologists but this is a relatively safe procedure.

What is the difference between laser vs IPL treatment for broken capillaries?

IPL stands for intense pulsed light and is not a true laser. Unlike lasers, which by definition have one specific wavelength of light, IPL has a range of wavelengths. This allows IPL to target various lesions (including vascular and pigmented). This makes IPL advantageous if there are broken capillaries mixed with pigmentary lesions (as seen in poikiloderma). Lasers are used preferably for isolated vascular lesions or lesions that mostly appear red. Your dermatologist will evaluate your skin to determine which treatment modality would be best for your specific case.

Is this a one time treatment?

Although the results are usually permanent, you may need one to two touch up treatments, at one-month intervals, for 90-100% improvement. Results may vary depending on extent and underlying cause.

Does topical treatment work for broken capillaries?

Topical products may temporarily slightly improve the appearance of the broken capillaries, but gold standard treatment for improvement of broken capillaries are injections or lasers. Both treatment modalities should shrink and collapse dilated small vessels permanently.

Are there any prescription medications for broken capillaries?

We have prescription medications for facial redness and various treatments for potential underlying causes of broken capillaries, but there are no prescription medications that will remove the broken capillaries or spider veins.

Are these procedures painful?

Lasers and sclerotherapy are usually well tolerated procedures. Your experience at OC MedDerm matters to us, therefore, we provide all types of pain control modalities if needed. We use very potent topical numbing cream, a cooling machine, topical ice, goldbar vibrator device, or nerve blocks if needed to assure optimal pain control.

Contact us

If you suffer from any type of broken capillaries or any unclear skin lesion, call us for a complimentary appointment. Visit our state of the art facility and meet our consultant who will evaluate your skin and answer all of your questions and concerns. You will be informed about every treatment option as well as the risks and benefits. Ask question.

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