Get rid of unsightly thread (spider) veins

Treatment Info

What are Thread veins?

The appearance of tiny red or purple veins in the skin are commonly know as thread veins or spider veins. The reason why people develop thread veins is not fully understood but the known and most important causes include heredity, pregnancy, hormones and minor injuries.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a technique used to remove thread veins from the legs. It involves injections with a very fine needle of a sclerosing agent which has an irritant effect on the lining of the veins causing the wall of the veins to stick together. Blood stops flowing through the veins, which are then absorbed by the body’s natural defence mechanism over a period of time. The blood is then directed back to the deeper venous system.

What is the treatment like?

Each treatment session lasts about 20 minutes. The needles used are very fine so discomfort is minimal however the sclerosing agent does sting. Once treated it can take between 2 weeks and 3 months for the veins to completely disappear.

For more information regarding The Process (including pre and post treatment advice), click here.

How successful is sclerotherapy?

After treatment most patients can expect a 70-90% improvement in the treated vessel. The fading process is gradual with treated veins fading up to three months after the last treatment.

Will treated vessels recur?

Veins treated adequately by Sclerotherapy should not recur. However, the underlying problem is not corrected and therefore new vessels may appear with time. An annual review is recommended to detect development of new vessels, which can then be treated.

How many treatments will I need?

Several sessions may be required depending on the extent and size of the thread veins. On average thread veins on the legs require 3 treatment sessions. This will be discussed during your consultation.

Anticipated side effects include:

  • Red, raised area at the treatment site. These should disappear within 24 hours.
  • Bruises, at the injection site. These will disappear in 7-10 days.
  • Itching can occur along the vein route. This normally only lasts for a few hours.
  • Patients normally experience some discomfort/stinging sensation during the treatment which quickly resolves once the treatment has stopped. Occasionally the vessels may be tender to touch after the treatment. This discomfort is temporary lasting only a day or two.
  • Aching in the leg for a day or two following treatment. This is uncommon but if it does occur it can usually be relieved by walking or paracetamol can also be taken
  • Blood trapped in the sclerosed vein may cause the vein to be more noticeable and the vessel tender in the first few days to weeks after the treatment.

Uncommon side effects include:

Even when a highly experienced physician is performing the treatment, there are a number of possible side effects.

  • A few patients who undergo microslerotherapy notice a discolouration of light brown lines after the treatment. In almost every patient, the veins become darker immediately after the treatment but then go away. In rare instances, this darkening may persist for 4-12 months and in very rare instances it can be permanent.
  • Allergic reactions to the sclerosing agent. Although very rare, if this happens the treatment will be stopped immediately.
  • Superficial Thrombophlebitis (thrombosis in a superficial vein with an inflammatory reaction) occurs in less than 1 in 100 patients. It is uncomfortable, lasts a few weeks but it is not dangerous.