Anyone can have thread veins, varicose veins or other vein problems. They can appear on any part of the body. Although harmless, they can cause distress as the sufferer often feels self-conscious, particularly if the veins are on an exposed part of the body, such as the legs, which people can see.
Thread veins appear very near the surface of the skin, are red, blue, or purple in color and less than 1 to 2 mm in diameter. Varicose veins are usually deeper beneath the skin, being skin colored or bluish – green and more than 2 mm in diameter. They are also more likely to cause pain and be related to more serious vein disorders.
Sclerotherapy is a relatively simple non-surgical treatment which only takes 30-40 minutes. It is used to treat leg thread veins:
- Spider veins and small veins that are not causing more serious problems
- Smaller varicose veins that come back after vein-stripping surgery
- Larger varicose veins, when newer techniques are used
- Rarely used for the treatment of facial veins
How it works?
During sclerotherapy a fine needle with a small amount of a sclerosing agent is injected into the vein.
After injection of the sclerosing agent the vein collapses and is no longer visible.
The solutions used may differ in strength slightly depending on the size of the vessel to be injected. The doctor will decide which solution is best for your particular case. Following injections, a swab may be taped over the treated area, and often a special bandage and compression stocking is applied which may be worn for several days to help assist shrinkage of the thread veins. If the vein is small enough, the swelling will destroy the vein over several weeks, making it much less noticeable or even invisible.
How many treatments do I need?
In practice, most patients require between 2 and 6 treatments at 4 to 8 week intervals. The number of treatment sessions depends on how many areas need to be treated but we generally recommend on average 4 treatments.
Is it painful?
There is usually minimal or no discomfort during sclerotherapy injections due to the size of the needle and the superficial injection technique.
Which is the best treatment – laser or sclerotherapy?
Laser is used mainly for thin, small lines on the face and occasionally on the legs. Sclerotherapy is better for larger blue-red-purple thread veins on the legs.