Superficial veins can be thread or ‘spider’ veins visible as thin, small red veins under the skin or slightly larger and more purple in color. They often form a branching pattern and, in your legs, may be linked to weakness in the valves and blood flow of your deeper veins (varicose veins and/or venous insufficiency). They are most commonly found on the legs and thighs but small versions may also be visible on the face. They can be treated in a number of ways depending on the extent and location of the veins.
Coagulation techniques or devices using very fine pin-point precision cautery or coagulation can treat very small thread veins. Usually, this is not suitable for more extensive leg veins and is most useful for small facial thread veins. More than one treatment may be needed.
Sclerotherapy involves the precise injection of a sclerosing or irritating substance using a very fine needle directly into the thread vein. Irritation from the injected liquid causes the veins to scar and close down. It is frequently used to treat leg thread veins. More than one treatment is often needed.
LASER vein treatment can be used to treat superficial veins. By using specific LASERs that target pigments in your blood using intense light beams, these pigments are damaged. This causes the small vein to close down. Again, more than one treatment may be needed.
Ensure you consider all aspects of a procedure. You can speak to your surgeon about these areas of the surgery in more detail during a consultation.
0.5 to 1 hour depending on the extent of veins in area being treated.
None, topical local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic.
Usually an office-based procedure.
Risks from sclerotherapy can include more than expected bruising, brown discoloration of the skin, small lumps under the skin, skin breakdown/ulceration, and inflammation. LASER risks include skin discoloration, more than expected bruising, skin burns, and skin hypersensitivity.
Risks can be reduced by carefully protecting your skin from the sun while healing and following your specific aftercare advice and skin care.
You will often be asked to wear compression stockings during the healing period after leg vein treatment (one to two weeks usually). It is common to have temporary bruising, mild swelling, and some discomfort. You can return to work immediately after treatment. You should protect your skin from the sun during the recovery period.
Results can be long-lasting but new veins can form. It can take between one and three months to assess the final effects of some vein treatments. If you have significant superficial leg veins, you should attend a vascular surgeon or physician to have a full assessment of your deeper leg veins before treatment as they may be the source of your superficial vein problem.