Spider Veins and Thread Vein treatment
Microsclerotherapy is an increasingly popular low cost, treatment designed to manage the problem of telangiectasia, small unsightly, very common, tiny leg veins on the skin’s surface. It involves the injection of a sclerosant called fibrovein into the lumen of the vessel, to cause an occlusion and venous wall damage. The vein then becomes inflamed, or hardens, before being reabsorbed by the body.
What causes spider veins?
Before commencing treatment, it is important to determine the cause of these veins which can be hereditary, due to age, gender, pregnancy, occupation, prolonged standing, topical steroids, obesity, trauma, underlying varicose veins, caused by the pill or many other reasons. If there are underlying varicose veins, you may need to be referred to a vascular surgeon to have these treated first, otherwise the results of your spider vein treatment will be sub-optimal.
What do I consider before treatment?
Prior to your treatment and to assess your suitability for treatment, there will be a full consultation, to discuss your medical history, including any current medications, followed by a physical examination. Looking for varicose veins, skin changes, and swelling. There are a few contraindications to treatment which will be discussed with you such as previous blood clots, previous vascular disease, allergies, pregnant/breastfeeding or taking certain medications, this list is not exhaustive.
How many sessions will it take and how long will the treatment last?
Microsclerotherapy is not a quick fix and usually requires more than one session. The veins will fade with each treatment, however depending on the original cause, the veins will return in a few years.
What is the aftercare?
Medical grade compression stockings must be worn, the treated areas will look worse before they improve and may take 8 -12 weeks between treatments.
Side effects include, bruising, swelling, tenderness, itching, no treatment effect, haemosiderin-hyperpigmentation/discolouration, other side effects that may occur will be discussed at your consultation.
Your aftercare should include taking brisk walks, wearing compression stockings for up to 6 weeks, avoiding extreme temperatures and flying for 4 weeks, avoid high impact exercise for 2 weeks, but keep mobile.
What are the treatment success levels?
Most vessels treated during a course of microsclerotherapy can be expected to disappear – on average, approximately 50% disappear with each treatment. Patients find that, over time, a few more thread veins appear, and it is common for patients to return occasionally for a general ‘tidy up’. The time taken for further veins to appear varies greatly and ranges from 1 – 10 years. Microsclerotherapy remains effective when further veins appear. Wearing compression stockings on a daily basis has no proven long-term benefit in preventing more thread veins or varicose veins appearing.
Microsclerotherapy is a very successful treatment for surface veins and a good outcome can generally be expected, but realistic expectations will avoid disappointment. Continuous discussion with Amanda will ensure the best outcome.
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Amanda Azzopardi – Advanced Nurse Practitioner – RM, RN, INP, DIP, BHS
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