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Consultant Vascular Surgeon - Varicose and Thread Vein Expert

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Skin Veins’ Q&A and Patient Information

Exposure to weather conditions such as excessive sun or wind can cause red veins to occur on the face while smoking can also be an underlying cause of facial veins.
What are skin veins?

Skin veins are a collective term for prominent and unsightly veins in the skin. They can include reticular veins, spider veins, thread veins and red veins but they are not varicose veins.

What causes skin veins to occur?

People have to be susceptible to vein trouble but then the problem is heightened by general wear and tear on the skin. Exposure to weather conditions such as excessive sun or wind can cause red veins to occur on the face while smoking can also be an underlying cause of facial veins.

Some skin veins are caused by underlying varicose veins, even if not initially apparent. The varicose veins ‘feed into’ the skin veins and prevent them from being treated successfully. Therefore, it is important to detect and treat any varicose veins before treating the skin veins.

What treatments are available to treat skin veins?

Reticular, spider and thread veins are most suited to treatment with injection microsclerotherapy. Red veins can be treated with sclerotherapy and also Veinwave.

What is microsclerotherapy?

A safe and effective treatment, microsclerotherapy involves injecting solution into the involved veins with ultra-fine needles so the treated veins ‘close’ and are no longer visible. It is designed to decrease the visibility of unsightly skin veins most commonly found on the legs. A compression dressing is applied after the treatment for 24-48 hours.

How is microsclerotherapy undertaken?

It is performed in the outpatient clinic and the average treatment session takes 20 minutes. The ultra-fine needles produce a mild pricking sensation and the solution used may cause mild discomfort on injection.

How many sessions of microsclerotherapy are required?

Several sessions may be needed depending on the extent of the veins to be treated and how well the injections spread within them.

How often is the microsclerotherapy sessions performed?

Follow-up consists of two to four weekly visits until the treatment is complete.

Will I see an immediate improvement in the veins after microsclerotherapy?

Microsclerotherapy is a progressive treatment. Bruising around the injection sites is common and the early appearance after treatment may well look worse rather than better. However, this settles down very quickly within a few weeks. With sclerotherapy, a light brown pigmentation is common which gradually fades over a number of months. It is rarely possible to clear all thread veins with any treatment, but the aim is to significantly improve the overall appearance of the treated area.

The aim is to reduce the blemish so that an observer looking at your legs from a usual distance in ordinary light would not notice anything wrong so that you can wear your shorts or swimming costume with confidence.

Can I carry on as normal after having microsclerotherapy performed?

Microsclerotherapy is performed as a walk-in/walk-out procedure in the outpatient clinic and you are able to carry on as normal after treatment - with a couple of exceptions:

  • Please do not apply moisturiser or other creams to the affected skin on the day of your treatments.
  • Walking is encouraged but prolonged sitting, standing, pounding exercises, squatting and weight-lifting should be avoided for about a week.

Can I drive to the treatment session?

Yes, but please let the consultant know you are driving.

Can skin veins recur after treatment?

New skin veins can always develop. This is particularly likely, however, if the causative factor (s) are still present, such as underlying varicose veins in the legs not being treated. This is why proper assessment is vital.