Sclerotherapy treatment

‘The gold standard treatment for thread vein removal’

What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy (or microsclerotherapy) is a proven non-surgical medical procedure that has been successfully used to eliminate thread veins (also known as spider veins) for over a century. The procedure itself is quick, non-invasive with little to no down-time.

Microsclerotherapy thread vein treatment involves an injection of a solution called a ‘sclerosant’. The solution is injected into the spider vein which then shrinks the blood vessels causing them to close off and disappear over a period of a few weeks.

Microsclerotherapy is mostly used on thread veins on the legs. Each ‘cluster’ of veins will be injected with a small needle and the sclerosant is put directly into the vein in order for it to work effectively. There is very little discomfort felt during the procedure itself, and depending on the extent of the veins, can be performed in around 20-30 minutes.

Most patients will require at least two sessions of sclerotherapy approx. 6-8 weeks apart in order to successfully remove the thread veins.

Thread veins

Leg thread veins, also referred to as spider veins can appear on the surface of the skin. They can appear blue, purple or red in colour and are thin lines that look a little like a web or branch.

They are usually not painful or harmful but can be annoying and affect your confidence when you want to bare your legs, particularly in the summer months.

Thread veins are different from varicose veins which are larger and deeper, may appear lumpy or twisted and can be painful.

Sclerotherapy - frequently asked questions

Sclerotherapy isn’t a particularly painful treatment, as the needles used are so small and the injections are very superficial.

Commonly used sclerosants (the drug used) aren’t painful when injected. It’s possible you might experience some prickling and itching for a few hours after treatment, but these symptoms can be relieved with anti-histamines which are available over the counter in supermarkets and pharmacies.

This treatment isn’t suitable for pregnant women, or patients with varicose veins.

We will review your medical history to make sure this is a suitable treatment for you.

Your treated veins will typically look worse before they get better. You might have bruising and/or red marks, and there may be some brown pigmentation which, in some rare cases, might take up to 18 months to fade away.

The following aftercare advice will help speed up the healing process and minimise the risk of possible side effects:

• Go for a 10 minute walk immediately after treatment
• You should wear your medical compression stocking for 72 hours, after which time you can remove the stocking for a brief cool shower or bath. You should then wear your support stocking during the day for 7 days when you may remove it at night. After the 7 days, you should wear your stocking as often as you can, for as long as you can.
• Extremes temperatures (hot baths, saunas, sun beds) should be avoided  for 14 days.
• You should avoid sun exposure for 4 weeks as the  pigmentation might take longer to fade.
• High impact exercise  such as running should be avoided for 2 weeks.
• Avoid waxing your legs for at least 4 weeks.
• For the first 2 weeks you should elevate your legs as much as possible, and when you’re seated.
• Let us know if you have air travel planned so that we can advise.
• Wearing support hosiery long term will help minimize thread vein recurrence.
• Don’t be alarmed if the thread veins look worse after treatment, this is normal.
• In some rare circumstances, patients may suffer symptoms of serious allergic reaction. You should dial emergency services if you suffer any of the following symptoms: rash, itching, red itchy welts, asthma symptoms, wheezing, dizziness or feeling faint. Seek immediate medical help if you have any breathing problems.
• Rarely, patients may suffer symptoms of DVT  following sclerotherapy treatment. If this happens, seek immediate medical advice. Symptoms include pain, heat and swelling of the leg.

Successfully treated thread/spider veins will be gone permanently. However, there isn’t a cure for the underlying vein condition, and so having sclerotherapy treatment won’t prevent new leg veins appearing at some point in the future.

Sometimes an itchy sensation can be felt immediately after treatment and some tenderness for a day or two. We ask our patients to wear medical grade compression stockings for at least 48 hours after treatment to improve the outcome of the treatment and minimise complications.

Occasionally little blisters can occur on the skin after the injections which then scab over like a tiny sore before healing up. Bruising is very common and can last for up to 3 months after treatment. For this reason, we recommend that patients do not have sclerotherapy immediately before a holiday.

Transient hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin around treatment site) can occur in up to a third of patients having sclerotherapy. In some cases this can persist up to 6-12 months before it resolves.