What are thread veins?
Unsightly veins on the legs (thread, spider veins) are harmless and it is not essential to remove them, however, they can make people feel self-conscious and as we age they can become more noticeable. They are removed for cosmetic reasons.
What product/method is used?
In most cases thread veins on the legs can be treated effectively with microsclerotherapy using prescription only medicines such as Fibrovein and Sclerovein. These are non-toxic irritants/sclerosants.
Laser can also be used to treat some types of vessels on the legs, usually in combination with microsclerotherapy.
How does the treatment work?
The sclerosant is injected directly into the veins causing the walls of the vein to stick together which prevents blood from passing through. Over a short period of time, these veins are then taken care of by the body’s natural processes and the veins gradually disappear.
With laser, the light is fired at the target vessel. This heats the vessel to a point where it becomes damaged. The body can then break the vessel down via natural healing processes.
How popular is this treatment?
This treatment is very popular as around fifty percent of people will develop thread veins at some point in their lives. It is common for people who have jobs that involve lots of standing for long periods such as nursing and hairdressing to develop thread veins, thread veins can also develop during pregnancy and naturally as we age. Microsclerotherapy is a safe and conventional treatment for these veins.
What areas can be treated?
This method is mainly used on the legs as this is where thread veins normally occur on the body. It has been used for larger facial thread veins in the past; however, diathermy is a more appropriate treatment for the face.
What happens during my consultation?
During your consultation a detailed medical history will be taken, helping the medical specialist to determine whether the treatment is safe for you to receive and whether it will help you achieve the results that you are looking for. The medicines used are prescription only therefore can only be prescribed after a face to face assessment by a suitably qualified independent prescriber. This will also reduce the risk of any unwanted side effects. During this consultation the potential risks and aftercare recommendations are discussed, helping you determine whether this treatment is really right for you. You may also require this face to face assessment to determine how many sessions you will require in order to achieve your desired results. A detailed inspection of the veins is performed and a hand held Doppler scan of the large veins in the legs. You will be measured for support stockings which are provided for use after the treatment. If we find a vascular problem during this assessment we can give advice or refer to specialist.
What happens during my treatment appointment?
This treatment is not uncomfortable for the patient; therefore, numbing cream is not necessary. The skin is cleaned with an appropriate solution.
We inject the veins with a small amount of sclerosant using a tiny needle and syringe. We may apply cotton pads/dressings to some areas where larger veins have been injected. We will then apply support stockings.
Goggles will be applied. The laser is fired at the vessel as discussed above. Stockings may or may not be necessary and depends on the assessment of the vessels.
What’s the aftercare advice?
You will be given verbal and written advice. You will be able to see some veins blanch immediately; the skin may also be red and slightly swollen. You will be advised to wear the support stockings provided for 48 hours day and night. After the 48 hours it is recommended that you wear the stockings for a further 12 days during the day time. You should not do any intense exercise for the first week after treatment.
Your veins may look slightly bruised and darker before they improve. A review appointment will be made for 2-3 weeks to ensure that you do not have any issues. Occasionally subsequent treatments are required which can be planned for 8-12 weeks after the initial treatment. Your experienced practitioner will be able to advise you.
How long do the results last?
Who is not suitable for this treatment?
- Anyone who has had previous deep vein thrombosis (blood clots to the legs)
- Anyone who has had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)
- Anyone taking warfarin or similar medicines to thin the blood
- Anyone who is pregnant or breast feeding as the medicine is unlicensed for use in this situation
Treatment frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The results are permanent for the veins which are treated successfully; however, new veins can naturally appear at any time.
Common and expected side effects are localised swelling and itching (similar appearance to insect bites/stings) and as such are treated similarly. As with any injection there is a risk of infection, however, this is unlikely due to the cleanliness of the procedure and the treatment environment. During the free consultation a comprehensive discussion of the procedure, medicine and its effects will be covered. This gives any potential client the opportunity to ask questions and be reassured that most side effects are short lasting and of the procedures overall effectiveness.