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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 7th July 2023.
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Thread veins (AKA “spider veins”) are small blood vessels that become dilated and can be seen on the surface of the skin. They’re usually found on the legs and face, and can look pink, red, blue, or purple depending on their size and how close to the surface of the skin they are.
Thread veins aren’t usually painful or harmful. Their symptoms are generally only aesthetic, while they can also appear on other areas of the body too.
As thread veins are mostly cosmetic, all manner of different clinics claim that their treatments produce the most effective results.
So why should you trust us?
Our experience over the last 18 years has shown us that microsclerotherapy is the most effective form of thread vein treatment and produces results that last the longest.
Microsclerotherapy treatment is the most common procedure we undertake for the removal of thread veins from the leg. If the veins are a little larger, we’ll likely use foam sclerotherapy instead.
Any form of sclerotherapy treatment we use is minimally invasive. It usually takes no more than 30 minutes, depending on how many veins need treating. We perform this type of treatment on an outpatient basis, and there’s little to no recovery time following the procedure. This means you can usually resume normal activities straight away, and even head straight back to work if you need to.
Other thread vein treatments that are available – such as laser, IPL and thermocoagulation (ThermaVein®) – can be quite effective with thread veins on the face. However, they can be both painful and ineffective for thread veins on the legs.
We never recommend microsclerotherapy for facial veins. We have found thermocoagulation (ThermaVein®) to be most effective in treating thread veins on the face.
Microsclerotherapy uses a drug that causes the treated veins to dilate and the vein walls to stick together. The veins shrivel up and your body then absorbs them naturally.
Although you’re likely to see impressive results straight away from microsclerotherapy, it can take a few weeks for the thread veins to disappear permanently.
It’s likely to take between two and four sessions of microsclerotherapy to fully resolve all of your thread veins. A full 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 being treated. The heat’s 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 causes the permanent destruction and disappearance of the tiny, thin-walled veins.
Applications of heat are applied every 2-3mm along the veins, which usually disappear immediately. Each treatment session lasts for 30 minutes. In most cases, you’ll need two sessions to ensure the veins are fully treated.
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We adopted our treatment pathway for thread veins in 2003.
Thread vein treatment starts with a consultation. During this, your consultant will perform a duplex ultrasound scan on your legs. This is the only way to accurately exclude an underlying cause for the visible veins prior to treatment.
The treatment required is usually microsclerotherapy. If the veins are slightly larger, it’ll be 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, we’ll recommend that you follow our varicose vein treatment pathway.
Depending on the extent of your veins and how you respond to your initial sclerotherapy session, you may need to return for further treatment.
It’s common to need more than one treatment session. Most of our patients need two to four sessions.
To get the most out of each sclerotherapy session, it’s best to have a minimum of four weeks between each one. This allows you to see the results of your first session before having the second. It’s important to note that it might take some time to fully resolve all of your thread veins.
After your appointment, you’ll need to wear a support stocking for a week. This will prevent you from swimming, but shouldn’t restrict your movement. You will be able to drive on the same day as microsclerotherapy treatment.
You can start to go about your usual activities straight after microsclerotherapy and we encourage you to walk for at least 20 minutes each day. We’ll let you know if there’s anything you need to restrict, but we always encourage you to avoid horse riding and weightlifting for 1 week.
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. They include both the clinic and consultant fee. You will receive one invoice only from us. 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.
It’s important to weigh up the benefits versus the risks whenever you consider any kind of medical treatment. With that in mind, we’ve provided you with a full outline of the known vein treatment risks.