To reduce the appearance of thread veins.

The treatment:

The sclerosing solution which is injected into the vein is a prescription only medicine which must be prescribed by a doctor. The injections themselves are currently carried out by doctors, nurses and specially trained beauty therapists.

Microsclerotherapy is an injectable treatment for thread veins. A doctor prescribes a sclerosing solution which is injected into the thread vein. This injures the cells in the lining of the vein and triggers a healing process. As the healing occurs the vein fades away.

Treatments should last less than an hour, but patients may need up to 4 - 6 treatments at 4 week intervals.

Immediately after the treatment, the area may look red and a little inflamed but this will resolve within 24 hours. The veins may look worse before they get better.

The results:

Thread veins will appear fainter or, in some cases, disappear. The treatment is not always permanent and results cannot be guaranteed.

The risks:

Brown marks and fine matting of tiny red veins can appear but will usually fade in time. The treatment can cause a temporary, painful inflammation of the vein, but this is rare. If the solution irritates the skin around a vein a scab may form leaving a small scar. More serious complications are extremely rare, but allergic reactions and a clot in the deeper veins have been reported.

Before you start:

Thread veins may indicate an underlying vascular condition. You should visit your GP for a general health check before microsclerotherapy treatment to make sure that your thread veins are not a symptom of an underlying vein problem which should be referred to a vascular specialist.

The effects of microsclerotherapy aren't immediate and the area can actually appear worse before it gets better. You may need to wear compression hosiery for several days after each treatment, and you will also need to protect the treated area from the sun. In addition, you should not have treatment two weeks before or after a long haul flight.

Also see:

Micro-thermocoagulation treatment

Procedure information is copyright Department of Health (http://www.dh.gov.uk. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.