Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure performed by
our skilled practitioners, which involves injecting
a solution into the vein using a micro-needle,
thereby causing the vein to collapse and fade from
view. It is a virtually painless treatment which has
been shown to be the most successful treatment
available today for these tiny blood vessels.
Most patients are pleased with the difference
that sclerotherapy makes, usually seeing an overall
improvement of 80-90 % following treatment. It is
important to realize however that this treatment
does not prevent new veins from emerging in the
future and as time passes by, it may be necessary
for touch-up treatments when new leg veins surface.
How does this treatment work?
A dilute irritant solution is injected into the
vein using a very fine needle. This damages the
vessel lining causing it to close off. The body
treats this as damaged tissue which is slowly
absorbed over about three months. Sometimes all the
thread veins disappear.
How successful is Sclerotherapy?
The injections are almost painless and all the
thread veins can usually be treated in one half hour
session. They look worse to begin with and large
vessels may go black. Fading starts after three
weeks and it will be three months before the main
benefit is seen and improvement continues for a
year. For this reason it is a good idea to plan
treatment some time before your holiday. The
treatment will last for several years, but other
thread veins will often develop over time. An
improvement of 80-90 % is more usual.
How effective is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a permanent solution for the
areas treated, but does not prevent new problem
areas from appearing.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
The number of treatments varies and is dependent
upon the patient and the extent of the condition but
each session must have a 4-6 week interval. This and
other aspects of the treatment will be discussed in
more detail at the pre-treatment consultation.
Are there any complications?
Great care is needed when injecting, especially
very small veins as the solution can damage the
overlying skin. Large veins may leave a faint brown
mark which will fade over a year but is easily
concealed with a light tan or stockings. An allergic
reaction to the solution is very rare, occurring in
about one person in 100 000. It can cause a drop in
blood pressure as well as a general reaction.
What should I do before treatment?
Please avoid aspirin, vitamin E and Aloe Vera
preparations for at least 10 days.
What happens afterwards?
Cotton wool will be taped over the injection
sites but can be removed the same evening. You will
be given a pair of support stockings which should be
worn for three days and nights. You might want to
wear trousers to cover these. For this reason
sclerotherapy is best avoided in hot weather. You
will be able to return to normal activities and
driving immediately afterwards. However, please
avoid hot baths or vigorous physical activity for
about a week to allow the thread veins to close off.
How long does the treatment take?
In most cases, treatment takes 30-60 minutes and
no recovery time is needed so normal activity can be
undertaken immediately afterwards.
Is micro-sclerotherapy painful?
Patients who have had micro-sclerotherapy have
reported little discomfort. Some experience a slight
to moderate burning sensation immediately after the
injection but this disappears within a few seconds.
Can thread and spider veins also be treated by
Thread and spider veins also occur elsewhere on
the body, particularly on the face, where larger
vessels have been treated successfully with
sclerotherapy and finer thread veins by laser.
Are there any side-effects following treatment?
Most patients experience no complications;
however, some minor side-effects have been reported.
These include slight blistering which occurs when
small amounts of the solution seep into the
surrounding skin areas. These blisters tend to heal
rapidly. Occasionally, a small, dark area of
pigmentation resembling a freckle may remain. These
spots, however, do tend to disappear over time or
respond to further treatment with bleaching creams.
Bruising around the treated area, which eventually
disappears, can result if the veins are unusually
weak and clots sometimes develop at the site of the
injection. Although never a major cause for concern,
these clots may be removed within two weeks in order
to allow the healing process to progress normally.
Swelling occasionally occurs, particularly in
those patients whose jobs require standing or
sitting for long periods of time. Swelling sometimes
develops when veins in the lower leg or ankle are
involved. Although not dangerous, the swelling
should be treated with elevation and /or compresses
How long do the results last?
In the long term, sclerotherapy provides benefit
as a treatment for unsightly, superficial veins,
however it is not a preventative treatment and
cannot stop new problem areas from appearing, but it
is believed that the use of support tights, weight
control and regular exercise may be helpful in
prevention. A top-up may be required in 2-3 years.