Microsclerotherapy for Thread Veins
Sclerotherapy is a safe and well-established treatment for thread veins on the legs. Although there are a few alternative treatments, it remains the most reliably successful of them all. It is the gold standard treatment for reticular and thread veins.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work?
A solution is injected with a tiny needle, very superficially into the veins, causing the lining of the vein to swell and become sticky. Compression is then applied to promote healing. Over a period of time the vein will heal closed and fade away. The results achieved after one treatment vary considerably from one client to another. You should budget for up to 4 treatments 4 – 16 weeks apart and you can expect an improvement in their appearance of 60 – 80%. We are able to treat the area of 2 hands in one sitting. Treating more than this will increase the risk of allergic reactions.
Is it safe?
Although safe, it is not entirely without risk. The two most common side effects are telangiectasia matting (fine red network of veins) and haemosiderin deposition.
Haemosiderin deposition occurs when the vein is not entirely closed, blood is trapped and clots. In some people iron pigments leak out from the clot and stain the skin over the vessel brown. These brown marks are not usually permanent, but may take 6-18months to fade. They darken when exposed to the sun and will take longer to fade if tanned. If you have marked inflammation after treatment 1% hydrocortisone cream can help. Review at 2 weeks allows your doctor to remove any clots.
Telangectasia matting is a mat of tiny veins that look like a red bruise. Matting usually disappears completely after 6-12months. If it persists it can be retreated with sclerotherapy.
It is also common to experience some itching and redness at the site of treatment which passes in a few hours. Also blistering, phlebitis and DVT had been reported.
Rare side effects would include-allergy or anaphylaxis.
Am I suitable for treatment?
The doctor will take a detailed medical history to ensure you have no conditions that might increase risk of unwanted side effects, assessment of your veins and consultation are also important to discuss your expectations and whether we are able to meet them.
This treatment is not suitable if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Microsclerotherapy is not suitable for patients with varicose veins (lumpy, bumpy, wiggly). Even though your varicose veins may not be your concern, the smaller veins are often caused by these larger veins and without treatment for your varicose veins, sclerotherapy is unlikely to successfully treat the smaller ones you want to get rid of. Treatment of varicose veins no longer requires surgery or a general anaesthetic; procedures are walk in, walk out with recovery within days rather than weeks.
Does it hurt?
Treatment involves injections, but the needles are tiny and often can’t be felt. The solution used does not sting but some patients experience mild prickling and itching.
The veins will take time (months) to fade away and often look darker for a few weeks before they look better. Because you will be required to wear compression hosiery, you may choose to schedule your treatment through the Autumn and Winter months.
It is best not to schedule treatment just before a holiday abroad. You will be advised to protect the treated area from the sun, and not to take any long-haul flights within 6 weeks of treatment. Discuss with your clinician.
You can resume normal activities immediately after treatment, but there are some instructions, please ensure you review the aftercare advice on each and every visit for treatment, to make sure you can follow it.
- Do not use bath oils, lotions of creams on your leg for 24 hours before your injections.
- Dress in loose clothing, jogging trousers or skirt and comfortable shoes to accommodate the support hosiery.
- If you have already been supplied with a support stocking bring it with you on the day of treatment.
- Wear big knickers or short shorts for your treatment session.
- Take a 10-minute walk immediately after treatment
- Wear your support hosiery day and night for 72 hours; at the end of the 72 hours you may take the stocking off and have a short cool shower or bath. Thereafter, wear your support stocking during the day for 7 days; you may take them off at night. After the 7 days, wear your hosiery as often as you can, for as long as you can. Wearing the stockings will increase the success of treatment and reduce side effects such as pigmentation.
- Avoid extremes of temperature for 14 days i.e. very hot baths, saunas, sun beds.
- Avoid sun exposure for 4 weeks – pigmentation may take longer to fade.
- Avoid high impact exercise for 2 weeks.
- Avoid waxing of the legs for 4 weeks.
- Elevate your legs as much as possible for the first 2 weeks- when you are seated
- If you are planning air travel discuss with your practitioner who will advise.
- Consider wearing support hosiery long term to minimise thread vein recurrence.
- Do not be alarmed that the thread veins look worse, this is normal.
- If prickling and itching is bothersome after treatment, anti-histamines, which can be purchased in any supermarket or pharmacy or garage, can be helpful in relieving that symptoms.
- Aching can be expected, walking and wearing the hosiery as directed should help. Also rotate your ankles whenever sitting down.
- There may be bruising and with bruising comes some tenderness. This will resolve within 2 weeks.
- You may notice veins become hard and or darken. This is a normal part of the process.
What can I expect?
- Days 1-3: Wear stockings 24/7.
- Days 3-14: Legs look worse, bruised and inflamed.
- Days 7 up to 3 months: veins are fading. If you press the vein and the colour stays the same, the vein is dead. If it fades when you press it will need re-treating.
- You can retreat the same area after 6-12 weeks. Different areas can be treated after 3 days.
- 90% of clients are very pleased with their results after 3-4 treatments.
- 10% do not get the degree of fading they desire.
- 10% will get side effects.
You will be shown how to put on your hosiery after your first treatment.
Do wear your hosiery for the recommended period of time. Compression is known to promote healing and minimise the risks of any side effects. The longer you wear it the better. The time recommended by your practitioner is a minimum.
Do wear rubber gloves when putting them on, they will give you better grip and will protect the hosiery from sharp nails.
Do not stretch the hosiery higher than they naturally sit. The fibres sit together and over stretching can lead to them falling down or sheering the skin.
The silicone band will hold them in place, but can become irritating to the skin if left in continual contact for duration. Please adjust its position periodically throughout the day, for your comfort. At night, you may turn it off the skin. Wipe it over with a soapy cloth daily, to remove any buildup of skin cells and oil.
Hand washing is recommended, but you may wash them in the machine at 40 degrees. Do not use fabric conditioner as this can damage the fibres.