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|Microsclerotherapy - Thread Vein Removal (Injection)|
Reduce the appearance of thread veins
Microsclerotherapy is a simple, minimally invasive and effective method of thread vein removal. The procedure involves injections of a harmless solution through a micro-needle into the veins, causing them to gradually fade. The treatment makes thread veins appear fainter and, in some cases, disappear altogether. The effect is usually permanent although new thread veins may develop in the future.
Methods for removing disfiguring veins made significant advances in the 1920s when a treatment for varicose veins (sclerotherapy) was modified to achieve thread vein removal. This treatment is what we now call microsclerotherapy.
Are you a candidate for thread vein removal?
Anyone can develop thread veins (sometimes called red, spider or broken veins). They vary in type, size and colour, ranging from fine red ones to larger purple or deeper blue veins. Not to be confused with varicose veins, thread veins are usually very near the skin’s surface and under 2mm wide. Varicose veins are deeper, usually a blue/green colour, over 2mm wide and should be considered a medical rather than a cosmetic matter.
Although harmless, thread veins can appear on any part of the body and they can be the cause of self-consciousness and can inhibit people wearing shorts, skirts and swimming costumes that display the veins. The microsclerotherapy process is typically used on the legs (a small risk of scarring means that other methods are used on the face).
As one woman in her 30s explained, “After my second pregnancy, I was left with patches of red veins on my thighs. It wasn’t terribly disfiguring, but it was noticeable when I took my children swimming, for example, and it made me look older. A short course of microsclerotherapy treatment removed the thread veins completely and now I feel much more relaxed about slipping on a pair of shorts or a summer dress.”
It is possible that thread veins could indicate an underlying vascular condition. Therefore, you should visit your GP before undergoing microsclerotherapy. Also, women on the contraceptive pill or anyone with a history of thrombosis should not be treated with microsclerotherapy. Your individual suitability for the procedure will be discussed during your initial consultation with the practitioner.
Undergoing microsclerotherapy treatment
The treatment takes about 30 minutes and you will experience only minimal discomfort. A trained clinician will inject a small amount of a solution known as a sclerosant (usually sodium tetradecyl sulphate) directly into the thread vein. This solution displaces the blood and aggravates the blood vessel lining so that it swells, preventing blood from re-entering the vein. This will eventually cause it to become much paler and sometimes disappear completely. The number of treatments necessary can range up to 6, but will vary according to the patient and the extent of the condition. To allow the outcome of previous microsclerotherapy sessions to become clearly visible, there must be 4 to 6 weeks between treatments.
Following the treatment, you may experience some restlessness in your legs due to the swelling of the walls of the veins. In fact, the blood vessels may appear more prominent for the first month or so. “For the first few weeks my legs looked as though they had been bitten by insects,” said one patient. “Thankfully, this soon died away and the thread veins gradually became fainter and fainter.”
There is always some degree of risk associated with cosmetic procedures of this nature, though a vast majority of patients experience no complications at all. Possible problems include mild blistering (caused by small amounts of the solution leaking into the surrounding areas) which will soon heal and disappear. Occasionally, a small, dark ‘freckle’ may appear at the site of the injection, though again, this often fades away eventually. Sometimes there will be mild bruising and swelling around the treated area, which will slowly disappear, and harmless clots can sometimes develop which can be removed within 2 weeks in order to encourage the healing process to continue. Following the advice of your practitioner after the procedure will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications
Who should carry out microsclerotherapy?
The solution that is injected into the vein is a prescription only medicine that can only be prescribed by a doctor, and the microsclerotherapy process must only be carried out by doctors, nurses or specially trained beauty therapists. Prices for the procedure are around £200 per 30 minute session. If microsclerotherapy for the treatment of thread veins on the legs is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a suitable practitioner.
Have your say!
If you've had experience with this procedure then why not leave a comment below and share your thoughts and advice with our readers.