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Varicose veins are a common problem, affecting up to 1 in 3 adults in their lifetime. They are usually a sign of an underlying venous insufficiency.
Thread veins can appear anywhere on the body but are mostly evidenced on the legs and face. They are more common than varicose veins, affecting up to 80% of adults.
Leg ulcers appear as broken skin in the lower leg or feet. We have been successfully treating venous leg ulcers for over 20 years.
Upfront and fixed prices. Find out exactly what you’ll pay before attending. Medical Insurance should fund varicose vein treatment.
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The below content has been medically reviewed and approved by Consultant Interventional Radiologist Dr. Suzie Anthony (MBBS, MRCP, FRCR), Deputy Medical Director and member of the Medical Advisory Committee at Veincentre.
Last reviewed 17th October 2021.
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Thread veins (AKA “spider veins”) are small blood vessels that have become dilated and have presented themselves on the surface of the skin. They are usually found on the legs and face. They can appear to be pink, red, blue, or purple depending on their size and how close to the surface of the skin they are.
Thread veins are usually not painful or harmful but can affect the aesthetic of the leg. They can appear on other areas of the body too.
As thread veins are mostly a cosmetic condition, there is a variety of treatments available at cosmetic clinics all claiming to produce the best results.
Microsclerotherapy treatment is the most common procedure we undertake for the removal of thread veins from the leg (or if the veins are slightly larger, foam sclerotherapy). Our experience over the last 18 years demonstrates that sclerotherapy is the most effective, longest-lasting form of thread vein treatment.
Sclerotherapy treatment is minimally invasive. It is carried out on an outpatient basis and usually takes no more than 30 minutes, depending on how many veins need treating. There is little to no recovery time following the procedure, meaning that you can usually resume normal activities straight away.
Other thread vein treatments on offer – such as laser, IPL and thermocoagulation (Thermavein™) – can be quite effective with thread veins on the face, but they can be both painful and ineffective for thread veins on the legs.
We would never recommend microsclerotherapy for facial veins. We have found thermocoagulation (Thermavein™) to be effective in managing thread veins on the face.
Microsclerotherapy uses a drug that causes the veins to dilate and the vein walls to stick together. The veins shrivel up and are then naturally absorbed by your body.
Although the instant results from microsclerotherapy are impressive, it can take a few weeks for the thread veins to disappear permanently.
Most patients require between 2 and 4 sessions of microsclerotherapy to fully resolve all of their thread veins. A treatment session usually takes no more than 30-45 minutes. It is carried out on an outpatient basis.
Thermocoagulation is a treatment that uses heat to destroy the thin walls of the tiny veins. The heat is applied using microwave energy at the end of a minuscule needle, which just pricks the very surface of the skin that is overlying the vein. This then leads to the permanent destruction and disappearance of the thin-walled tiny veins.
Applications of heat are applied every 2-3mm along the veins, which can be seen to disappear immediately. Each treatment session lasts for 30 minutes. In most cases, 2 sessions are required to ensure complete response.
We adopted our treatment pathway for thread veins in 2003.
Thread vein treatment starts with a consultation. Your consultant will perform a duplex ultrasound scan on your legs; the only way to accurately exclude an underlying cause for the visible veins prior to treatment.
The treatment required is most commonly Microsclerotherapy (or if the veins are slightly larger; Foam Sclerotherapy).
The majority of our patients who present with thread veins, rather than varicose veins, do not have an underlying cause for their veins. If an underlying valve problem is found, please note that your treatment plan is likely to be the Varicose Vein Treatment Pathway.
You may need to return for further treatment, depending on the extent of your veins and how you respond to the initial session of sclerotherapy. It is common to need more than one treatment session; most patients need 2-4 sessions. To get the most out of each session of sclerotherapy, it’s best to have a minimum of 4 weeks between each session, to enable you to see the results of the first session before starting with your second one. It is important to note that it might take some time to fully resolve all of your thread veins.
Following your appointment, you will be able to drive on the same day as microsclerotherapy treatment. You will need to wear a support stocking for a week which will prevent you from swimming but shouldn’t restrict your movement.
You can start to go about your usual activities following microsclerotherapy and we encourage you to walk for at least 20 minutes each day. You will be advised if there is anything you need to restrict but we always encourage you to avoid horse riding or weightlifting for 4 weeks.
The sclerotherapy procedure itself, and the post procedure recovery, are described by the vast majority of patients as uncomfortable rather than painful.
All our sclerotherapy and thermocoagulation prices are fixed per session and include both the clinic and consultant fee. You will receive one invoice only from Veincentre. We promise that our prices will never inflate once you’ve attended a consultation. View our thread veins treatment prices in full here.
Medical Insurance rarely funds thread vein treatment, as insurers class thread veins as a cosmetic issue. That said, insurers should fund a consultation to rule out a medical cause for your problems, especially if you’re suffering with symptoms.
With all medical treatments it’s important to weigh up the benefits versus the risks. With that in mind, we have provided you with a full outline of the known vein treatment risks.