Bulging temple veins and bulging temple arteries are a common problem. Although many aesthetic clinics can remove the small blue and green veins with laser, the large veins and bulging arteries are more difficult to remove.
Prof Mark Whiteley and Victoria Whiteley (née Smith) have spent the last five years developing new treatments for these conditions.
You will find these veins and arteries visible on the temple also called “temporal arteries” and “temporal veins”. The reason is that the side of the scalp in front of the ear is often the first place that grey hair is seen when we age. Therefore, the bone underlying this area is called the “temporal bone”, signifies the passing of time. However, for ease, this area has changed from being called the “temporal” area and is now called the “temple”.
When patients see bulging blood vessels on the temple, they almost always call them veins. However, as can be seen from this patient who has both bulging temple veins and temple arteries, the two are very different.
A bulging temple vein is usually green or blue. The vein empties to the touch. It often gets bigger in heat, with smiling, with exercise and with alcohol. When you touch it, you can rarely feel anything there.
A bulging temple artery is colourless. It is seen as a bulging of the skin overlying it. It stays present when you are bulging it because the artery blood is that higher pressure. It usually gets bigger in heat, with exercise and with alcohol. Smiling makes little difference to it. When you touch it very lightly, you can feel a pulse within it. A temporal artery is also usually much more tortuous, whereas a vein is often straighter.
Because the veins are closer to the skin and have thinner walls, the blood can be seen through the skin making the vein look green or blue. If the vein is quite small, this allows laser to be used. The laser focuses on the blood inside the vein. If enough of this blood can be heated by the laser, it will destroy the vein wall and the vein will disappear.
However, if the vein is larger and bulging, laser from outside often fails. It is not possible to get enough energy across the skin and into the blood without burning the skin. Also, the blood flow is too great washing the heat away with normal flow.
Therefore, at The Whiteley Clinic we perform a local anaesthetic removal of the vein called mini phlebectomies. The patient illustrated here had many phlebectomy of her bulging temple vein.
Treating an artery is far more difficult than treating a vein. Arteries have high blood pressure and pulse. They are harder to see and surgery and at The Whiteley Clinic we use ultrasound to find the best place to treat the artery.
We have developed a special technique to stop the blood flow in this artery by tying it off with a special stitch that never dissolves. The incisions are very small and made in a particular way to reduce scarring. The surgery is performed by Prof Mark Whiteley who uses very high magnification imaging to be as precise as possible and make the scars as small as possible.
For both treatments, there is no need for any stitches in the skin.
Removal of the bulging veins usually causes some bruising that can last from 3 days to 3 weeks. Fortunately, it can usually be covered by foundation after a few days. There are no stitches to remove and the scars usually disappear within 3 weeks-6 weeks provided patients keep out of the sun.
For the treatment of the arteries, bruising usually only lasts a day or two at most. There can be little bulges under the wounds that can last 4-6 weeks and rarely, they can take up to 3 months to disappear.
By using the ultrasound, we can be precise in the identification of which blood vessel to treat and at what point.
For more information please contact us at The Whiteley Clinic. We are always happy to assess photographs sent by email.