Microsclerotherapy is the Gold Standard Procedure for removing Thread Veins from the legs and is the ONLY treatment to be used for Thread Veins of the legs. Claudia McGloin has trained with Mr Mark Whiteley, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Leading Expert in Varicose Veins at The Whiteley Clinic in Guildford, Surrey. Claudia is a Member of the College of Phlebology and the British Association of Sclerotherapists.
Claudia McGloin ensures the use of Best Practice for the treatment of Thread Veins for the legs and promotes this in both The New You Clinic and The Vein Clinic Ireland.
What are Thread Veins?
Thread Veins of the LEG otherwise known as Spider Veins, Broken Veins, Surface Veins, Broken Capillaries or Venous Flares are extremely common affecting 1 in 4 women and an unknown number of men. They are found closer to the skin’s surface and have the appearance of small fine flat red veins or thicker purplish veins which are either isolated or in clusters.
Although in the past many people have gone to beauty clinics or cosmetic clinics for the treatment of Thread Veins of the legs, research performed in 2001 has shown that 89% of people with Thread Veins actually have underlying vein problems. These can either be minor or major Varicose Veins and are very often not visible from the surface and cannot be found without the aid of a specialised Duplex Ultrasound Scan of the legs. If you have Thread Veins, you should have a Venous Duplex Ultrasound Scan before having any treatment to make sure that you don’t have LEG PUMP FAILURE underlying the Thread Veins.
On consultation, The Vein Clinic Ireland use a hand held Doppler machine to see if there is any evidence of underlying Varicose Veins. If any evidence is found, then the client will be referred for a Duplex Ultrasound Scan to examine every vein in the leg from the Deep Veins right the way through to the Thread Veins of the skin. This will show the exact cause of the Thread Veins in the leg and will map out the size and distribution of any hidden Varicose Veins.
Following a Duplex Ultrasound Scan the very best treatments, or sequence of treatments, to both get rid of the Thread veins from the legs as well as reducing the risk of other thread veins returning in the future will be suggested.
If the Doppler does not show any signs of underlying Venous Reflux, then we can proceed to treat the Thread Veins by Microsclerotherapy.
What is Microsclerotherapy?
Microsclerotherapy is a technique of injecting Thread Veins with a substance through a very small needle. Using a large magnifying light, a chemical called a “Sclerosant” is injected into the veins. This destroys the vein making the walls of the veins fibrose (”stick”) together. After treatment on the legs, you will need to wear compression stockings for 2 weeks’ day and night.
As Microsclerotherapy closes the veins by inflammation of the wall, most patients get a patch of inflamed skin over the site of the injection which lasts for up to two weeks. This inflammation is actually very good – it is the body’s way of removing the dead vein. The area then settles down but the full benefit can take up to 12 weeks to be seen. After that you will find that the veins often continue to improve for up to a year after the treatment. Depending on the number of Thread Veins on the legs, several sessions may be needed to get the required results, but usually two will be enough.
How effective is Microsclerotherapy?
Compared with other treatments, Microsclerotherapy gives the best results. It is the Gold Standard for treatment of Thread Veins, with 95% of patients seeing an improvement with a good or very good result.
Some clinics use Laser, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or Electrolysis type treatment of Thread Veins on the legs. Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) are more likely to damage the skin. This does not happen on the face where the skin is more resilient to radiation. As far as the needle-type treatments such as Electrolysis that are used that heat the vein and destroy it, this is very slow and laborious compared to Microsclerotherapy. In addition, one injection of Microsclerotherapy not only takes away a whole patch of Thread Veins but also treats lots of little Thread Veins that are hidden under the skin that may well be feeding into this patch. Using one of the techniques that employ heat being transferred to the vein via a needle, each visible vein has to be treated individually every couple of millimetres along its whole length and any vein that is deep enough to not be visible from the surface cannot be treated.
In a very few cases, Thread Veins of the legs are too small for treatment by Microsclerotherapy. An alternative is to leave the veins for six months in which case they often get large enough to treat with Microsclerotherapy.
The Vein Clinic Ireland do NOT use laser treatments for the removal of Thread Veins from the LEGS.
Are there any side effects to Microsclerotherapy?
As with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved, but complications with Microsclerotherapy are very rare and are generally of a very minor nature.
Some 4-5% of people can get brown marks – usually very mild and usually fading over several weeks or months. Very occasionally the brown stains can be dark. At The New You Clinic we check anyone who has brown stains as many can be improved by releasing any trapped blood in the veins that were treated.
Approximately 1% (1 in 100) people can get a little break down of the skin. This is called a Chemical Ulcer. This can be very tender for a few weeks and then usually heals with a small scar. This scar can be permanent but such a small scar is usually better then the Thread Veins that were there before the treatment. This is rare.
Allergies are often quoted as a problem but they are exceptionally rare.