Varicose veins, thread veins and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) information and treatment

Microsclerotherapy & Laser Treatment

What can be done about Thread veins?

Thread veins are not dangerous and do not cause symptoms so the first question to consider is whether they are enough of a problem to bother with. If only a very small area is affected then camouflage creams may hide them. If you do dislike their appearance and want to improve it then the first question is whether there are associated varicose veins. If there are varicose veins associated then the results of treatment are better if these are dealt with first (see varicose veins). Once any associated varicose veins are dealt with they can be treated with microslerotherapy or lasers.

Microsclerotherapy requires injections using a very fine needle into the thread veins themselves. This causes the lining of the veins to swell so that no blood can flow through them. It is actually the blood in the veins that is visible in the skin rather than the veins themselves so that if blood is prevented from flowing through the veins they disappear.

It is important to wear a support stocking after the procedure as this helps the veins to seal off and prevents blood flowing back into them. Occasionally, a small area of brownish pigmentation can occur at the site of the injection, very rarely a small area of skin may react to the injection causing a little ulcer. If this happens it normally recovers over time but sometimes the effects can be longer lasting.

Many people consider laser treatment to be less effective than microslerotherapy. In a recent medical review in the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (the Medical equivalent of Which), it was concluded that microsclerotherapy was more effective than lasers and that it should be used in preference for most people with thread veins on the leg although laser is better for thread veins on the face.

Lasers also have the disadvantage that people have to avoid sun exposure before and after treatment and occasionally produce permanent areas of whiteness in the skin. Whatever method is used, treatment takes some time to achieve the maximum effect and for everything to settle down. It is not realistic to decide to get your thread veins treated a week before your summer holiday.

How effective is treatment?

The benefits of treating thread veins take some time to develop. It usually takes several goes to get a worthwhile benefit and it is worth waiting at least six weeks before the effectiveness of treatment in a particular area can be assessed. If there are several areas to be treated, they can be treated sequentially, for example one leg one week, the other leg a week later.

Treating thread veins is in some respects like weeding the garden. If you put some work into it the garden will look much better but you do not expect that the weeds will never grow again. Treating thread veins is not a cure and does not stop you making new thread veins. It is normally possible to get rid of a large proportion of the veins and most people feel that their legs look much better and that the effort has been worthwhile. However, it is important that your expectations are realistic.

While treatment of thread veins can normally produce a substantial improvement, treatment will not get rid of every single thread vein nor result in perfect legs.