Thread veins on the legs are very common and can be very unsightly. In addition, they can cause ache, tired legs, itching and ‘burning’ discomfort. Symptoms are often worse at the times of a period for women, or in warm weather. The veins can vary from fine red marks to larger purple or deep blue veins. Thread veins can cause significant cosmetic embarassment and many women will not wear short skirts in the summer months.
The reason why people develop thread veins on the legs is not fully understood but important associations are heredity, pregnancy and hormonal factors. They can also follow minor injuries. In many cases, they can be caused by varicose veins and reflux in the veins nearby.
Many regard thread veins as simply cosmetic. As said, they often cause symptoms and these symptoms are helped by treatment.
A proper assessment of the whole vein system in the leg is very important to get the best results from treatment, because we need to know if there is any connection between the superficial thread veins and the deeper veins.
If there is a connection which is not treated, then back flow and high pressure will make it less effective.
Nearly all thread veins have a ‘feeder’ vein nearby, also called “reticular vein”, that also needs treatment. A careful search has to be made for these reticular veins.
After treating any underlying varicose veins or superficial venous reflux, an injection technique called Microsclerotherapy is used to treat the thread veins directly. A non-toxic chemical is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. This irritates the lining of the vein causing the walls to stick together and prevent blood flowing through the vessel. Over a period of time the blood vessel is gradually absorbed by the body and disappears. After several treatments a 80-90% improvement can be expected.