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What types of leg veins can be treated?
Varicose veins, usually deeper blue veins, need different treatment from discoloured clusters (known as thread veins and spider veins) that are near the skin surface. For this reason, we use different technologies. We recommend endovenous laser for larger varicose veins and veins up to 1 cm in diameter can be treated succesfully with sclerotherapy and laser.
What treatments are used?
EVLT or endovenous laser, sclerotherapy or Nd-Yag laser for larger, deeper veins. These veins respond to sclerotherapy or the precise energy levels and wavelength of laser light. A small spot of laser light travels through the skin and is absorbed by the blood within the veins, on the basis of its colour. The resulting heat coagulates or clots the blood and destroys the function of the vein. This process does not affect any of the surrounding tissue. Over time, the veins will be absorbed by the body and will disappear from sight. You may be asked to wear a bandage, tubigrip or stockings after the procedures.
Are thread veins and spider veins treated the same way?
No, we use a very fine needle and inject a chemical into these thread veins or spider veins. As these leg veins are very small and needle used is very fine, magnification is required to visualise and accurately inject these veins. This procedure is called microsclerotherapy.
We may use Nd-Yag laser for veins which are too small to inject using microsclerotherapy.
How many treatments are needed?
It is very variable. Many of our patients have had excellent results just after one session. Extensive leg veins need multiple treatments, often over a few months before the effect is complete. Even small vessels often required time to resolve. Sometimes a bit of matting or staining surrounds the treated vessels. If there is an untreated underlying problem with the deeper leg veins then very rarely the veins can get worse after treatments. By using a combination approach we can treat the vein and these minor temporary discolouration and offer excellent outcome.
What is a treatment like? Is a painful?
EVLT and microphlebectomy are used under local anaesthesia. Thread vein laser or intense pulsed light energy may feel like a pinch similar to a snapped rubber band. Chilled gel on the skin and other techniques prevent discomfort. Sclero and microsclerotherapy are also very well tolerated with majority of patients experiencing no discomfort at all.
What preparations must I make?
You do not have to make changes to your normal activities, before or after treatment. Prior to and following any type of laser and IPL treatment, you must limit your exposure to the sun. Treatment should not be performed on tanned skin. We suggest that you have someone drive you to and from the clinic on your first appointment or sclerotherapy session. It is better to avoid heavy exercise, waxing, excessive alcohol and drugs that affect blood clotting for 1 week after the treatment.
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© Dr Sanjay Gheyi