Thread veins, spider veins, and other little blemishes caused by small veins under the skin can be successfully treated by a technique called microsclerotherapy. This means injecting a substance into the veins which causes them to seal off.
The treatment is done using tiny needles and causes very little discomfort. Treatment of one small vein will often get rid of other nearby veins at the same time.
If there are just a few thread veins on a leg it may be possible to get rid of every single one. If there are lots of thread veins, then this may not be possible. You need to consider the possible results before embarking on treatment.
Microsclerotherapy works better in some people than others, and it is not possible to predict whether the treatment will remove most of your thread veins or whether you will be one of the few people for whom the result will be less effective. The chance of a poor result is small, but it is important to understand that this is a risk before embarking on treatment. A gap of at least one month is recommended between visits so that the effect of each series of injections has a chance to become clear. Improvement can occur for up to three months following treatment.
It is not uncommon for the veins to look worse for the first few weeks after microsclerotherapy. This is because the veins are inflamed and appear darker.
Most patients are happy with the results of treatment. In approximately 5% of patients, the treatment is not effective.
The substances used for these injections work by damaging the inside of the veins causing the walls of the vein to stick together.
This can sometimes cause inflammation: you may have redness and bruising for several days in the areas which have been treated.
Brown discolouration can appear where the treatment has been given: this usually fades, but occasionally it can be permanent.
We usually apply cotton wool or gauze pads and tape over the injected areas followed by either bandaging or tight support stockings. These should remain in place for at least 48 – 72 hours.
You can be fully and normally active after the injections, although you may find that vigorous exercise is difficult while keeping the bandages/stockings in place.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment or laser treatment is used for thread veins. The general consensus is that these treatments are better for thread veins on the face and microsclerotherapy is better for thread veins on the legs.
Please note that there is a lot of information on the internet regarding cosmetic treatment for thread veins. Most of this information is commercial or advertising material. At the moment no treatment has been assessed by or recommended by The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). This is because there is a lack of good quality research on the subject.