Treatment Explained

Short Wave Diathermy for Facial Veins

The treatment involves a fine hair like needle which is applied to the dilated capillary and conducts an electrical current which causes the blood to clot, triggering a healing reaction which seals the vessel closed. The treatment can be uncomfortable, the sensation being of a hot prick. Local anaesthetic cream can be applied before the treatment in order to make it more comfortable.

Immediately after the treatment, the appearance of the capillaries will be much improved. The treated area will be red and there may be some local swelling which usually subsides within 24 hours. It is not unusual to develop small scabs at the treatment site. These should be left alone and will fall off during the course of the next 7 days. These scabs will look similar in appearance to bramble scratches.

During the next two weeks the treated capillaries will re-appear and may look more noticeable than before - this is a normal part of the healing process. Gradually they will fade again. The success of the treatment can be judged at 4-6 weeks. A follow up appointment is recommended at this time should further treatment be required.

Please note that it is not always possible to achieve 100% clearance. Often more than one treatment 4 weeks apart is necessary, particularly on larger veins and those around the nostrils.

Depending on the cause, the problem may return requiring further treatments in the future.

How safe is this treatment?

This is a heat treatment. Any risks are related to the damage caused to the skin by heating it. These risks include burning, scabbing, infection, pigment changes and scarring.

However you are unlikely to have any problems if you follow the aftercare advice.

Short Wave Diathermy can also be used in the treatment of the following skin problems:

  • Spider Naevi
  • Red Blood Spots
  • Skin Tags
  • Milia
  • Warts

Sclerotherapy for Leg Veins

Sclerotherapy is a safe and well established treatment for thread veins on the legs. Although there are a number of alternative treatments, it remains the most reliably successful of them all.

A solution is injected slowly with a tiny needle, very superficially into the veins, causing the lining of the vein to swell and become sticky. Essentially the damage caused by the solution initiates the body’s wound healing response and as soon as fresh blood passes through the sclerosed vein it clots and sticks to the damaged vein wall. The blood forms a hard ‘sclerothrombus’ firmly attached to the vein wall. The hard sclerothrombus occludes the vein.

The body’s healing mechanism converts the sclerothrombus and vein into a fibrous cord, resulting in complete obliteration of the vein.

Dr S. Foutsizoglou uses a combination of magnification, good illumination and the fibreoptic Veinlite for mapping and injecting superficial veins and the network of feeder veins (i.e. reticular veins) that are often responsible for spider veins and telangiectesia. Compression is then applied to close the veins. Over a period of time the vein will heal closed and fade away. This procedure when performed on small veins is called microsclerotherapy.

Sclerosing agents

The solutions used in microsclerotherapy are classified into three groups based on their mechanism of action:

  • Detergents – The most commonly used solutions (i.e. Sodium Tetradecyl Sulphate and Policonadol) belong to this group.
  • Osmotics
  • Chemical Irritants

Fibro-Vein (Sodium Tetradecyl Sulphate) is a prescription only medicine (POM), manufactured in the United Kingdom and has a product licence for the treatment of varicose and thread veins. The intravenous injection of Sodium Tetradecyl Sulphate, an anionic fatty acid salt, is considered to act as an irritant to the vein wall, so that on compression of the treated vein, scar tissue forms and the vein is permanently occluded.

How safe is this treatment?

Sclerotherapy is a safe and well established treatment for thread veins on legs. Though safe, it is not entirely without risk. The two most common side effects are something called haemosiderin deposition and telangiectatic matting.

Haemosiderin deposition occurs when the vein is not entirely closed, blood is trapped and clots. In some people iron pigments leak from the clot and stain the skin over the vessel brown. These brown marks are usually not permanent but may take 6 - 18 months to fade. They darken when exposed to the sun and will take longer to fade if tanned.

Matting occurs if the fragile vessel is injured during the injection, leaving a mat of tiny veins that look like a blush or a red bruise. Matting usually disappears completely after 6 - 12 months, but if it persists, it can be treated with sclerotherapy if the needle can access the fine vessels and flush the solution gently through.

Other risks are extremely rare but these include:

Allergic reaction - any drug carries risk of allergic reaction. It is quite common for patients to experience some itching and some redness at the treatment site. This is no cause for concern and will pass within a few hours.

If the solution irritates the tissue surrounding the vein, in rare instances blistering can occur. If left alone these can potentially lead to further blistering and may scar.

Rarely a vein may become painful as it heals, this is called phlebitis.

Deep vein thrombosis has been reported following this treatment.