Microsclerotherapy – Prominent leg veins, spider veins and matting are a very common problem that can cause a great deal of distress and embarrassment. They can affect everyday life, what clothes to buy and dreading the summer holidays!
In the past, surgery has been the only treatment option, but now microsclerotherapy has replaced surgery as the gold standard treatment. It is safe and effective with virtually no down-time after treatment and the veins disappear forever meaning you can once again show off your legs with pride.
What areas can be treated?
Microsclerotherapy is ideal for leg veins, ranging from the tiny patches of matting up to small varicose veins. Large varicose veins or where there is venous incompetence, foam sclerotherapy is the preferred option. At Cosmedic, we offer free consultations and perform a hand held Doppler assessment of your legs and will be able to tell you whether microsclerotherapy would be suitable for you.
How does the treatment work?
Microsclerotherapy is a well-established method for treating leg veins by injection. Tiny needles are used to inject small amounts of a sclerosant into the thread veins. The sclerosant is a substance which is irritating to vessels and when injected it destroys the wall of the vein, causing the vein to collapse and disappear, with instantly visible results. Despite a perfect treatment at the time, some of these veins recover and a few treatment sessions about 8 weeks apart is recommended to get full clearance. After treatment, stockings need to be worn day and night for 3 days and during the day for a full week. It is recommended to take a 10 minute walk straight after treatment. The treated areas often look worse initially as the treated veins leak into the skin resulting in a small bruise and discolouration.
We commonly use a Veinlite when performing treatments, this allows us to see any veins beneath the skin and so we can treat more effectively. Treatment usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour.
Is it safe and does it hurt?
Microsclerotherapy sclerosants are used in small quantities and injected directly into the thread veins by our highly qualified practitioners and so the procedure is perfectly safe. At Cosmedic, we take safety as our highest priority and we have strict treatment guidelines concerning the quantities and areas which we are injecting. It is not always possible to treat both legs fully in one session as the volume of sclerosant required would be too great.
Most people hardly feel the injections at all and describe the treatment as a mild discomfort at worse. Itching or stinging can be experienced following injections and may last a few days as the sclerosant can be mildly irritating to the surrounding skin. Anti-histamines can be taken if itching is more severe. When larger veins are treated, these can ache after prolonged standing when they have been treated for a short time afterwards.
Are there any side effects?
Microsclerotherapy can cause mild staining of the skin and some bruising. There may be redness of the treated areas afterwards although it is usually mild and settles within a few hours. Very rarely, the sclerosant can cause some minor damage to the skin and small ulcers are possible. However, this is usually due to poor injecting technique or not following correct guidelines. The risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis is extremely small, however, if there are any risk factors or past medical history of concern, treatment is not recommended. A full medical history will be taken prior to treatment.
What can I expect after treatment?
You should expect to return to your normal activities immediately after treatment. There may be some mild discomfort in the legs and some itching and it is important to wear the stockings as advised. You will be given a post-treatment information leaflet and we recommend avoiding strenuous exercise, hot baths, saunas, extremes of temperature and prolonged sun exposure for a couple of weeks after treatment. It may take between 8 to 12 weeks to see improvement following your treatment and between 2 to 4 sessions are recommended to give optimum results.
The following advice is intended to help ensure the best results from the treatment, and to minimise the occurrence of side effects. The closer you adhere to this advice, the happier you will be with the results.
Take a 10 minute walk immediately following treatment.
Wear the support hosiery day and night for 3 days (72 hours). After 72 hours you may take the hosiery off for a short time to have a cool shower or bath. Wearing the support hosiery constantly is crucial – it may be a nuisance but it makes all the difference!
Do not be alarmed if the treated areas look worse when you remove the hosiery – this is completely normal at this stage.
You can bathe during this time – put a plastic bag over the hosiery. You can wash your feet whilst wearing the hosiery and many people find this refreshing – the hosiery will quickly dry!
Wear the hosiery during the day for a further 5 – 7 days, removing it overnight.
Avoid extremes of temperature for 14 days i.e. very hot baths, saunas, sun beds, ice-packs.
Avoid sun exposure for 4 weeks – pigmentation may be enhanced and take longer to fade.
Avoid high impact exercise for at least 2 weeks.
Avoid waxing of the legs for 4 weeks.
Elevate your legs as much as possible for the first two weeks.
Do not take long-haul flights within 4 weeks of treatment.
Consider wearing long term compression hosiery to reduce the appearance of thread veins.
Do not forget to bring your support hosiery with you to your next treatment session!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any more questions then please feel free to download the Microsclerotherapy FAQ PDF (290KB) – It contains absolutely everything you need to know about the procedure.
“For the first time in years, I haven’t been embarrassed showing my legs on the beach.” Sarah, Cannock.