Microwave Treatment (Thermocoagulation) for Thread Veins
Thermocoagulation, more commonly referred to as Veinwave or Thermavein, uses microwave technology to destroy thread veins, spider veins and is great for rosacea. Thermocoagulation is a non-invasive treatment with instant results. Although results are instant, more than one treatment might be needed.
How Thermocoagulation works
Thermocoagulation targets your desired area with microwaves that heat and destroy the targeted vein. The vein will get reabsorbed back into the body over time. The procedure uses high frequency microwaves that pass through an ultra-fine insulated needle. The needle heats the vessels in the skin creating a lesion that destroys the vein. The ultra-fine insulated needle allows for accuracy and protects the skin and surrounding tissue.
Where can it treat and who can be treated?
Thermocoagulation can be applied to all areas of the body including tougher areas such as knees and ankles. It is pain free for most people. There is no risk of scarring, bruising or pigmentation.
There are minimal side effects; unlike laser treatment you will not need sun protection although we always recommend wearing sunscreen on your face. If the treated area is a little sore or dry, your practitioner may recommend some aloe vera gel or moisturisers.
This procedure shows no evidence that it can lead to neither skin disorders nor an increase in the risk of cancer. It is not suitable for pregnant women or patients with epilepsy or a pacemaker.
The first time you visit a clinic, you will discuss your expectations for the treatment. The practitioner will then be able to advise if this treatment is suitable for your requirements.
At the actual treatment session, your practitioner will clean the area that is to be treated. They will take pictures of the area before and after the treatment. They will then start the procedure by inserting the needle into the veins and administering the microwaves, destroying the vein whilst protecting the surrounding skin. There is minimal or no discomfort during treatment. The length and number of treatment sessions depend on the number and extent of the thread veins requiring treatment.
You can normally go about your usual daily activities following this treatment. For 3 weeks or so the area that has been treated may be red; occasionally this will last for up to 6 weeks. In rare cases you may also find new veins developing in the treated areas or old veins flaring up again. Contact your practitioner immediately if you notice signs of infection or an increase in pain.
Microsclerotherapy is the technique used to treat spider veins or thread veins of the legs. It is a relatively straightforward, non-surgical cosmetic procedure which involves injecting a liquid into the veins which destroys them and causes them to disappear over time.
It is suitable for use on thread veins on the legs or body, provided they are beneath the heart. Thread veins on the face are better treated with Electro Surgery, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or laser. As gravity has an effect on the blood in the veins and also as the skin is more sensitive to burns, Microsclerotherapy is the most preferable treatment for thread veins below the heart.
It is important to note that before any Microsclerotherapy is undertaken, it is essential to have a venous duplex ultrasound scan. This scan will confirm whether there are any hidden, underlying varicose veins which are feeding blood into the thread veins and keeping them open. *Failure to treat the underlying cause of the thread veins results in unsuccessful outcomes for the majority of people.
How is Microsclerotherapy performed?
As thread veins and spider veins are minute, a tiny needle is used to inject small amounts of sclerosant, which is the liquid that destroys the veins. The veins are so small that a very powerful magnifying glass with a strong circular light is used in order to get the very best view of the targeted thread or spider veins. As soon as the sclerosant is inside the vein, the vein needs to be compressed and this is done by taping a swab to the skin. The area needs to be continually compressed for a minimum of a week, so compression hosiery should be worn 24/7.
Results from Microsclerotherapy
As with all medical procedures, there can occasionally be complications and Microsclerotherapy might not give the results that are required. In general, patients need several sessions to get the optimal result and quite often the best results are only seen after a minimum of two to three months.
Some people will get brown stains but these are usually the people who remove their stockings against medical advice, before the recommended 14 days and 14 nights. Very rarely, patients may get an ulcer. This occurs when some of the sclerosant enters into a microscopic artery, fortunately, this is very rare. Red stains known as Telangetic Matting can form but this tends to be on patients who have underlying, hidden varicose veins which have not been correctly identified and treated.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins and spider veins. It involves injecting chemicals, known as sclerosing agents, into damaged veins. In addition to diminishing the appearance of varicose or spider veins, sclerotherapy can also reduce pain or side effects caused by damaged veins.
Varicose veins can cause itching, pain, cramping, and discoloration. Spider veins are smaller and less severe than varicose veins. Varicose veins are more common in women than in men, although anyone can get them.
*Failure to treat the underlying cause of the thread veins results in unsuccessful outcomes for the majority of people.
How is Sclerotherapy performed?
Pretty much the same technique as microsclerotherapy; depending on the severity of the condition, sclerotherapy treatment for venous problems can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. If you’re getting treatment on your legs, your doctor may have you lie on your back with your legs elevated. Depending on how far below your skin the damaged vein is, your doctor may use an ultrasound as part of the procedure. The procedure begins with your doctor cleaning the skin around the targeted veins. With a fine needle, your doctor will inject the damaged vein with a sclerosing agent. Sclerosing agents typically used in sclerotherapy include:
- sodium tetradecyl sulfate
- hypertonic saline solutions
The liquid or foam solution causes the walls of the injected vein to seal shut, so blood is redirected to unaffected veins. Over time, your body absorbs the damaged vein, making it less visible and uncomfortable. Based on the size of the treated vein or veins, you may need up to four treatments.
Possible risks and side effects
You may experience minor cramping, stinging, or burning in the injected vein during sclerotherapy. The procedure can also be painful, especially if the sclerosing agent leaks into surrounding tissues.
Common side effects of sclerotherapy include:
- skin discoloration
- raised red areas that appear around the injection sites
All of these side effects should subside in a few days. Brown lines or spots can develop near the treatment area, as well. These normally disappear within three to six months, but in some cases this side effect lasts longer or may become permanent.
More serious side effects include:
- allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent
- ulceration of skin around the injection site
- blood clot formation in the treated veins
- inflammation that is usually mild can cause discomfort around the injection site
You should stay in touch with your healthcare provider after sclerotherapy treatment to help increase the efficacy of the procedure and manage any potential side effects.
What to expect after sclerotherapy
The recovery period after sclerotherapy typically doesn’t have much effect on people’s lives or schedules. It’s advised that you get up and walk a bit right after the treatment, to help the blood flow through the veins and to minimise the risk for blood clots. You’ll be able to get back to work or other regularly scheduled activities the next day, although you should avoid aerobic exercises such as running and weight lifting for a few days and you will be advised not to fly for several days as well. Your doctor will most likely recommend that you wear compression stockings for a few weeks after treatment and that you avoid sun exposure. The stockings will put a gentle pressure on the legs, allowing the treated veins to fade and helping to keep new spider veins from forming.