If you have ever tried typing “treatment for thread veins” into Google, you will know that there are many options to consider. From creams that claim quick fixes to clinical procedures that promise long-term results, the list is long. But which is the best option? This article will help you to make an informed decision. It explains the different treatment types available, their effectiveness, and best practice for treating thread veins.
Thread veins treatment options
Various cosmetic creams on the market claim to repair “broken veins” or “heal spider veins”. They cite ingredients such as vitamin K as having powerful clotting or healing properties that eradicate surface veins. The harsh reality is that these claims are unfounded. Creams of this nature are sold under the label of cosmetics or “food additives”, and manufacturers do not have to provide any evidence-base for these products before launching them. At present, there are no clinically-proven over-the-counter or prescription medical creams for treating thread veins.
Laser and other light therapies
Light therapies such as laser and intense pulsed light machines (IPL) use light energy from the laser to heat the thread vein and destroy it. These techniques can be highly effective for treating thread veins on the face, but they rarely achieve good results when used to treat thread veins in legs. Common issues include:
- Skin discolouration and scarring
- Skin sensitivity – resulting in incomplete treatments
- Treatment fails to reach deep extensions of the thread vein network
Electrolysis and radiofrequency techniques
Various needle-based techniques exist that use electricity to heat and destroy the thread veins. It is possible to treat surface thread veins successfully using this method, but not the deeper extensions of surface veins. The procedure is also slow, as each vein has to be treated every few millimetres along its length.
Microsclerotherapy is the process of using a fine needle to inject a liquid into the vein that causes it to inflame and die. The inflammatory reaction spreads into the network of thread veins, killing both surface veins and deeper extensions. This walk-in-walk-out procedure doesn’t require any anaesthetic and takes less than an hour to perform. Microsclerotherapy is currently the gold standard for treating thread veins in legs.
Best practice for treating thread veins
If you have thread veins on your legs and would like to get them treated, you should arrange to see a venous expert. There are two reasons for this:
- In approximately 80-90% of people with thread veins, their condition has an underlying cause – hidden varicose veins. Finding and treating these makes thread vein treatment far more effective.
- They are specialists with a deep clinical understanding of your condition and how to treat it using evidence-based techniques.
How do you know if you have hidden varicose veins?
When you visit a specialist venous clinic, you will have an ultrasound scan of your legs to reveal any underlying varicose veins as part of your consultation. Your consultant can then advise you on the most effective options for treating both your varicose veins and thread veins.
Whilst there are many products and procedures that claim to treat thread veins, microsclerotherapy is the only technique that produces reliable long-term results for surface and deeper veins. For thread vein treatment to be effective, any underlying varicose veins should first be diagnosed and treated by a venous expert.