Thread, spider or red veins of the legs are a common problem which particularly effects women, and often there is a family history. These small veins can occur anywhere on the leg from the top of the thigh to the ankle and while they do not pose any major health problem, they are unsightly and often cause significant embarrassment. At Avalon Aesthetics we are able to offer a simple treatment called microsclerotherapy to correct unwanted thread veins of the legs.
What is sclerotherapy?
This is a procedure which involves injecting a very small amount of a chemical solution called a sclerosant directly into the veins using a very fine gauge needle under a special type of light to illuminate the veins. This solution has been used with great success for some years in Europe and the United States and has been shown to be very safe.
The solution displaces the blood within the vein causing it to turn white initially. The lining if the vein is irritated by the sclerosant in the solution. The inflammation in the vein wall triggers a healing response which over several weeks causes the vein to close and fade away.
Treated veins usually disappear within two weeks, but occasionally it can take up to two months. In most cases, more than one treatment session is needed to successfully treat both legs. However, in all but the most severe cases, only two or three sessions lasting about 45 to 60 minutes are needed.
Is it painful?
Patients report a little minor discomfort with the superficial injections, which settles within a few seconds. Local anaesthetic gels can be applied to the skin prior to the treatments but are not usually needed. There can be some itching and redness after the treatment which usually resolves within 24 hours, simple antihistamine can be taken to relieve itching if needed.
What are the side effects and risks?
Most patients experience no adverse effects, although some minor side effects have been reported. These include slightly raised areas at the site of the injection which settle within a day or so, or temporary bruising around the treated area which resolves within a few days.
Treated veins usually disappear within two weeks, but occasionally it can take up to two months. In most cases, more than one treatment session is needed to successfully treat both legs. However ,in all but the most severe cases , only two or three sessions lasting about 45 to 60 minutes are needed.
Very rarely , a small dark area of pigmentation resembling a freckle may remain. However, these spots usually resolve In time. The development of tiny networks of fine red vessels near the injection site of larger veins can very occasionally occur after treatment. Most resolve spontaneously and others disappear with further injection treatment. Allergic reactions to the solution are very rare.
Is there any special after care?
You are given special compression hosiery to wear for a week after treatment which improves the results of treatment. You have a choice of colours and style of hosiery provided.
You will be advised to resume normal activities immediately but to avoid high impact exercise for 2 weeks, very hot baths or saunas, sun beds for 2 weeks and no leg waxing for 4 weeks after treatment.
Will the treated veins recur?
The veins that are successfully treated will not recover. In most cases we expect an 80-90% success rate in those veins treated. However, new veins may develop over time which may require further treatment but usually this is a number of years later on.
Most people who are self-conscious or embarrassed by unsightly thread veins are delighted with the results gained from microsclerotherapy.
Is sclerotherapy suitable for everyone?
In most cases sclerotherapy will be an effective treatment, however some people will have more severe venous insufficiency and will require other forms of treatments, such a surgery before microsclerotherapy can be used.
Dr Strawford, offers a thorough assessment and diagnosis of your veins, to exclude more serious underlying pathology in order to offer the best treatment options to suit you.