Northland's Ultrasound Specialists
Phone: 09 974 8844
21/50 Kioreroa Road
Port Whangarei, WHANGAREI 0110

Microsclerotherapy for Spider Veins

A simple, non surgical procedure where a solution is injected into unsightly veins to make them disappear.

Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins, and are found closer to the skin surface. They are called spider veins because of their web-like appearance and are usually bluish or red in colour. These veins vary in size and can also be found on the face.

What is microsclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is the process of injecting a solution called sclerosant into an unsightly vein or other blood vessel to make it disappear. The sclerosant damages the cells lining the blood vessel wall, which then undergoes scarring and is reabsorbed by the body. This reaction is slow, taking at least six weeks, with improvement continuing beyond this time, but the reaction varies between individuals.

What sclerosant is used?

We use a sclerosant called Polidocanol. There is evidence that Polidocanol has the least potential for side effects, compared to other sclerosants.

Can microsclerotherapy be used in all my unsightly veins?

Not all veins can be treated in this manner. In some situations Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS), which we perform, or surgery may be required.

What happens in treatment?

A full medical history will be taken prior to your treatment and you will have the opportunity to discuss any aspects with your Cosmetic Physician. You and your doctor will determine exactly if your veins can be treated with sclerotherapy or if you will require ultrasound mapping of your veins to check whether the valves are working. If appropriate, injections are given into the vein using a very fine needle. Due to its local anaesthetic quality the treatment is virtually painless with only mild discomfort. Multiple treatments (3 to 5 depending on individual factors) are required to have the desired effect. Treatments are repeated at monthly intervals.


Answering your questions

What common side effects occur?

  • Discomfort: Usually mild. An itching or mild burning sensation is not uncommon but is short lived.
  • Discolouration: This is caused by pigment leaking from the red blood cells along the course of the treated blood vessels. It happens unpredictably in about 30% of people and has the appearance of an old bruise. Pigmentation disappears over time but may take as long as 12 months to resolve. We know that the use of compression stockings following treatment is essential to minimise the occurrence of pigmentation.
  • Vein Matting: This refers to the appearance of new, very fine red blood vessels in response to sclerotherapy or surgery. This occurs in a minority of patients. Its cause is unknown and it may not be easy to treat.
  • Skin Ulcers: These can occur at the injection site or further away. These are particularly rare with Polidocanol.
  • Haematoma: This is a small quantity of clotted blood within the injected vessels which may need to be released by puncturing the area and expressing the clot. It occurs more commonly in larger veins. It causes a dark lumpy discoloration along the course of the vein but usually disappears within a month.

Is microsclerotherapy safe?

Yes, the side-effects are mainly cosmetic and usually resolve. Severe allergic reactions to Polidoconol have been reported, but they are very rare. No deaths have been recorded following the use of Polidoconol. Rarely, a Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT which is a clot in the deep veins, has been reported. No such event has happened at Clinic 42 or EchoNorth.

Who cannot use it?

  • Pregnant women.
  • Previous history of deep vein thrombosis.
  • Long distance travel within a month of treatment.

What after-care do I need?

  • Minimum of 30 minutes walking per day.
  • Continue wearing the stockings as instructed.
  • Avoid sun exposure to the treated areas until all bruising has resolved to prevent pigmentation.