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Thread Veins

Leg Thread Veins

Also called thread veins or broken veins, these are very common. Almost 50% of adults are affected and therefore many people are interested to know how to get rid of these unsightly blemishes. People with thread veins fall into one of two categories, and in the majority of cases there is a problem with the valves of the superficial veins – either in the large saphenous vein, or else in the smaller reticular or feeder veins. This is why it is very important to get a duplex ultrasound scan before deciding how to treat spider veins. A duplex scan will identify which veins have faulty valves and how best this can be put right. For the remainder of those with thread veins, there may be aggravating factors but the cause is not known. These leg thread veins are said to be idiopathic. A duplex ultrasound scan is needed to make sure that people with leg spider veins are classified correctly so they get the correct treatment.


Those with vein reflux should have this treated first. This may mean endo-venous laser for the unhealthy veins. Typically, this is performed under a local anaesthetic as a walk in walk out procedure. Endo-venous laser has replaced surgical stripping as it is much less invasive and gives much better results with no scarring. Once the larger unhealthy veins have been dealt with, then the smaller feeder veins and thread veins can be injected – a treatment called microsclerotherapy

Facial Thread Veins

Broken Veins on the face and cheeks can be treated by Short Wave Diathermy

The medical term for spider veins on the nose and cheeks is facial telangiectasia. These are small blood vessels in the skin typically measuring less than 1 mm. They are very common and they are unsightly and disfiguring. They can be congenital, that is you may have been born with them or they may have developed over the course of many years. Sun exposure is the main aggravating factor for their appearance, but other important causes are liver disease, rosacea, smoking, use of steroid creams and alcohol. Many people who have an out-door occupation such as farmers, window cleaners, gardeners or builders can get them because of sun exposure and ultraviolet damage to the skin. However, those with out-door hobbies and those who take part in sport can also be affected, for example people who enjoy sailing, walking or hiking or those who take frequent holidays to the sun.

Fortunately, they can be treated very simply using a medical procedure called short wave diathermy. It is a little bit like electrolysis. The skin is numbed with local anaesthetic cream and a sterile single use needle is used to apply a precise medical electrical current to the blood vessel. The electrical current cauterises the blood vessel and over the course of a few weeks it disperses. In general the results are excellent. Unlike leg spider veins, there is no need for a duplex scan but after successful treatment, it is important to address any pre-disposing factors to minimise the risk of the spider veins reappearing. This usually means applying a good quality UV-protecting sun cream to reduce the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

For more information on our Thread Vein Treatments, please visit the Consultation and Treatment pages or feel free to Contact us.