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Microsclerotherapy – Leg Thread Veins (Spider Veins)


AI Classification Score - C31 Penetrating Pinhole

What is Microsclerotherapy?

Microsclerotherapy is the technique used to treat spider veins or thread veins of the legs. It is a relatively straightforward 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.

Identify the underlying cause

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.

The Whiteley Clinic has developed a unique system called The Whiteley Protocol® which ensures all patients are given the best possible treatment, including identifying all underlying problems.

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 target thread veins 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.

Post procedure

To achieve optimum results, the treated thread and spider veins need to be continuously compressed for 21 days and nights. This is the time needed for the body to turn the dying vein into scar tissue and is best achieved by wearing compression stockings.

Patients are encouraged not to remove the stockings until 22 days post procedure. If they are removed too early, blood will return into the vein and it will clot, leaving a brown staining. This staining can fade over the following months but sometimes it can become permanent.

Results from Microsclerotherapy

As with all medical procedures, there can occasionally be complications and Microsclerotherapy might not give the results that are required.

As The Whiteley Clinic identify and correct the underlying causes of the spider and threads veins, our patients are given the very best chance of a good result.

95% of our patients are very pleased with the results of their Microsclerotherapy with 80% saying the result was excellent.

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

What are the possible risks of Microsclerotherapy?

Some people will get brown stains but these are usually the people who remove their stockings against medical advice, before the recommended 21 days and 21 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.

This strongly supports The Whiteley Protocol® which ensures that our patients get the very best results, by identifying underlying problems and treating them before the spider and thread veins.

Research has shown that approximately 9 out of 10 people who have thread veins or spider veins treated on their legs, may be having the wrong treatment if they haven’t had a duplex ultrasound first. Research performed in Australia in 2001 showed that when specialist duplex ultrasound was used for patients who thought they only had leg thread veins or spider veins, underlying hidden varicose veins were found in 89% of cases.


  1. Whiteley, M. S., Davey, S. E., & Placzek, G. M. The AI classification (access and invasiveness) of medical procedures to clarify non-invasive from different forms of minimally invasive and open surgery. CoP Preprints. 2023:43.