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Thread Veins

Thread veins are tiny unsightly veins lying in the superficial layers of the skin. They are also called spider or broken veins. Thread veins are blue, purple or red in colour and measure up to 2mm in diameter. They are commonly found on the calf or thigh, and occasionally the ankle and foot are also affected. Thread veins may occur by themselves but quite often varicose veins are also present in the same leg. Women are more commonly affected than men. It is not clear why they arise but there may be other people affected within the family, indicative of a genetic tendency. They will tend to be exacerbated by pregnancy.

Thread Veins

Although harmless, thread veins often give rise to severe embarrassment and social unease, making the sufferer reluctant to expose their legs by wearing a skirt, shorts or swimwear. This can bring about a significant impairment in quality of life. Treatment by microsclerotherapy eradicates thread veins and many patients have found it the most effective way to improve the appearance of their legs. Our clients who have had successful microsclerotherapy often report a feeling of increased confidence.

In practice there is little that can be done to prevent the development of thread veins. Slightly larger veins i.e. 2 to 4mm in diameter may also be present in the same leg. These often interconnect and form a branching basket-like pattern. They are usually termed reticular veins and can also be treated by chemical injection.

Mr Williams has successfully treated over one thousand patients for thread veins. The likelihood of a successful outcome would be fully discussed at the initial consultation. Although microsclerotherapy is not completely successful in all cases, for most clients it will give rise to a dramatic reduction in the burden of thread veins. Over 90% of clients are happy with the outcome.



Microsclerotherapy involves the obliteration of tiny veins in the skin by flushing them through with a dilute solution of an irritating chemical (sodium tetradecylsulphate or “Fibrovein"). This requires the thread veins to be entered with a minute needle in anything from 5 to 20 sites per leg. The chemical is then injected and spreads throughout the veins in the vicinity. It is therefore possible to treat a sizeable patch of thread veins by one tiny injection. The effect of the Fibrovein is to damage the inside lining of the tiny vein and this causes it to shrivel and disappear.

The treatment takes up to thirty minutes and most patients will need either two or three sessions of microsclerotherapy for the optimum cosmetic result. It is usual to repeat the treatment at two-weekly intervals until all veins have been obliterated.


Microsclerotherapy causes a minimum of pain and patients are able to drive and go back to work almost immediately. It is common to experience a mild burning sensation which is rarely troublesome, but may persist for a few days. There will also be some reddening and mild swelling of the skin for the first few days. It is important to do plenty of walking for ten days after treatment in order to achieve the best possible result.

As the initial reaction subsides, a bruised appearance becomes evident and this may take several weeks or occasionally even months to settle down. It is therefore necessary to be patient as the cosmetic benefit will develop slowly but surely. At Castle Quay Veincare we have a huge experience of microsclerotherapy and we will advise you about the likely chance of a successful result.

Microsclerotherapy really is a quick and fairly gentle way to bring about a huge improvement in the appearance of your legs.


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