Vein Clinic

Vein Clinic

Varicose veins come in a variety of types. Depending on the types of veins you suffer from, a number of treatment options are available:

  • Spider Veins, Thread Veins and Reticular Veins
  • Varicose Veins
  • Facial Veins

Spider Veins
Spider Veins and Thread veins are the small yet unsightly clusters of pink and purple thread like veins that lie near the surface of the skin. They are commonly found in the leg but they can also appear in the face and other parts of the body. Reticular veins are larger blue veins, commonly found behind the knee. They are often found close to, and feeding into, clusters of thread veins.

Spider veins are not harmful to health and may not need to be treated. However there are various situation where treatment can have significant benefits to you

  • When spider veins cause aches, pain and numbness and this affect your lifestyle
  • When the appearance bothers you and you are not able to dress the way you like
  • When there are associated tortuous blue looking veins that suggest you may also have underlying varicose veins

Treatment options
Thread veins can be treated by injection microsclerotherapy, foam sclerotherapy, laser treatment or thermal coagulation. At your consultation, based on clinical and ultrasound assessment, an individualised treatment regimen will be planned  that best suits your needs.

Your consultation
About 5-10% patients with Spider Veins may have underlying varicose veins problem. This is especially so if you also have concurrent blue and tortuous veins that may or may not be bulgy. Therefore for effective treatment, an Ultrasound examination is performed to exclude this possibility. This examination is painless and can be performed in less than 10 minutes. A careful assessment of the spider veins is made, searching for underlying reticular veins. If identified, these will also be treated, ensuring a more successful and long lasting outcome.

Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are dilated, tortuous veins in the legs caused by a failure of valves in the veins. They tend to run in families and are often made worse by prolonged periods of standing or multiple pregnancies. These cause stress to the veins wall, which ultimately begins to stretch and cause more valves to fail.

Varicose veins fall into there groups:

  • Uncomplicated – some patients has no symptoms at all apart from the veins being unsightly. They are usually very active physically and their active leg muscles compensate for the weakness of the vein function.
  • Mild symptoms – aching and cramps in the leg, itchiness near the area of the veins and swollen ankle. All these are worse with prolonged standing.
  • Severe symptoms and complications – leg ulcers, bleeding and thrombophlebitis.

Varicose veins are not only an appearance issue, untreated it can progress and give rise to other medical problems. There are many reasons why you should seek treatment if you have varicose veins

  • Symptoms: Initially, varicose veins do not cause much in the way of symptoms. As they progresses, patients begin to experience discomfort in the form of itch, aches, cramps and ankle swelling.
  • Progressive Disease: Once established varicose veins progress over time. Stockings and leg elevation can relieve the symptoms and slow the progression but they don’t deal with the underlying problem. A small number of patients progress to develop skin complications including phlebitis, excema and more permanent discolouration.
  • Leg Ulceration: If you see pigmentation and irritation of the skin around the ankle, it may mean that your varicose veins are fairly advanced with a risk developing leg ulceration.

Treatment options
A wide range of treatment options are available

  • Thermal ablaton. This can be performed with laser (EVLT) or radiofrequency ablation (VNUS). These are short procedures, carried out under local anaesthesia on a walk in, walk out, walk home basis. A single treatment only is required which takes less than three quarters of an hour. Around 70% of patients can be treated this way and recurrence rates are low.
  • Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy. Here, instead of removing the varicose veins, a foam is injected into the varicose veins to try and close it. This method is quick to perform, cheap and non-invasive. However it may require repeat treatment sessions and recurrence rates are higher.
  • Varicose vein surgery. Here the veins are completely removed. If there are small numbers of veins only, and no reflux in the main veins, then this can be done simply under local anaesthetic. Where larger numbers of veins are present, or the main veins need stripped, then surgery under genial anaesthesia is required. Operations are usually performed as day cases take between 45 and 90 minutes.

Your consultation
The key to successful treatment is a careful assessment of your veins. Non-invasive treatments such as Thermal Ablation or Foam Sclerotherapy are often the best way to control symptoms or reducing skin complications of varicose veins. Surgical removal often offers the best cosmetic outcome. A detailed ultrasound assessment is carried out, looking looking for the underlying cause of your varicose veins. This will then allow planning of an individualised treatment regimen that best suits your needs.

Facial Veins 
Facial Telangiectasia are the small red vessels which are commonly referred to as red veins, dilated capillaries or broken veins. They most commonly occur around the nose, cheeks and chin.

They are often heredity, but can also be caused by sun damage, exposure to hot, cold or windy environments, pregnancy and injury.

Treatment with short wave diathermy can result in either complete removal or a significant improvement in the appearance of veins. The treatment works by heating the blood vessel and coagulating the lining with a small electrical current. The vessel blanches immediately and local healing leads to parietal or complete obliteration.

Other conditions
Short wave diathermy can also treat spider naevi, Campbell de Morgan spots, milia and skin tags.

Your consultation
The initial consultation lasts about 30 minutes. If possible, arrange with the clinic to arrive 20 minutes ahead of your appointment. This will allow time for some local anaesthetic cream to freeze the area being treated. An assessment of your skin type and veins is undertaken and a treatment plan discussed that will meet your expectations. A small patch test is carried out on the first visit to determine your sensitivity to and the effectiveness of the treatment. Subsequent treatment sessions, if required take around 15 minutes. Any makeup needs to be removed before each treatment session, and should not be reapplied for the first 24 hours.
Vein Treatments

Microsclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat spider veins and small varicose veins. It involves injecting a solution into the spider veins in order to close the veins and causing them to disappear. Usually 50-80 percent of injected veins are eliminated with each injection session. Patient satisfaction is normally achieved with two or three treatment sessions.

Benefits of microsclerotherapy

  • Better results when compared to the various laser options
  • Any small feeding veins are also treated at the same session
  • Very fine needles mean that treatment is almost painless

What to expect at your procedure

  • Treatment takes between 30 and 45 minutes
  • Some patients find it more comfortable to wear a pair of shorts for the treatment
  • Compression is worn for 3 days full time following the procedure, then day time only for the next 2 weeks
  • Bruising is common at injection sites and rarely small blisters can develop
  • Treatment causes the veins to spasm and close. These are absorbed by the body and typically disappear in 1-3 months.

After the procedure

  • You will be asked to take a 10 minute walk
  • Itch at injection sites is common, occasionally an antihistamine is needed to bring ease
  • Brown staining sometimes can occur at injection sites, these almost always fade completely in 3-6 months

Foam Sclerotherapy
Foam sclerotherapy can allow patients who are not suitable for thermal ablation to have non-surgical treatment of their varicose veins. Ultrasound visualisation is used to guide injection of the foam solution directly into your varicose veins. A combination of tight bandages and compression stockings are used for two weeks, minimising the risk of pain and inflammation of the treated veins. Repeat treatments may be required to completely remove all veins

Benefits of Foam Sclerotherapy

  • Very quick to perform, treatments take between 15 and 30 minutes
  • Procedure costs are much lower than thermal ablation or surgery
  • Procedure is performed in a normal treatment room
  • No general anaesthesia or hospital stay is required

What to expect at your procedure

  • A few small needles are placed in the affected veins under ultrasound guidance
  • Your leg is elevated
  • Foam is prepared at the bedside and injected into the veins
  • Ultrasound is used to confirm complete treatment of the affected veins
  • Compression pads and bandages are applied

After the procedure

  • Compression is applied day and night for the first seven days
  • Stockings are worn during the day time only for the second seven days
  • Phlebitis (inflammation of the treated veins) can occur after the procedure, and if severe may lead to staining of the skin
  • Closure rates are lower than thermal ablation and treatment may need to be repeated

Laser Ablation
Get Rid of Varicose Veins With No Surgery, Scar or Anaesthesia

Laser ablation is a minimally invasive, clinically proven alternative to surgical vein stripping that effectively and safely treats varicose veins by passing either a laser or radio frequency fibre directly into the vein. Heat is then applied to cauterise the vein from the inside.

Benefits of laser ablation

  • Short treatment times, normally less than one hour
  • Procedure is performed in a normal treatment room
  • No general anaesthesia or hospital stay is required
  • Minimal pain or bruising following the procedure
  • Immediate relief of the symptoms of varicose veins
  • No scars
  • Excellent clinical outcomes

What to expect at your procedure

  • The procedure is performed under ultrasound guidance
  • Local anaesthetic is infiltrated along the length of the vein t be treated
  • A thin fibre is inserted through a tiny entry point (usually near the knee)
  • It takes about 3 minutes to seal the faulty vein
  • You will be required to wear tight surgical stocking for 14 days
  • Your normal day activity is then resumed

Despite all the improvements in keyhole techniques, Surgery for varicose veins is still sometimes the best option. Operations can range from the very simple removal of small unsightly varicose veins under local anaesthetic to more lengthy procedures under general anaesthetic for patients who may not get the result they need by keyhole means.

Benefits of Surgery

  • All varicose veins and their feeding branches are completely removed
  • No risk of skin staining or residual firm bulges that sometimes follow injections
  • Often the best choice for cosmetic outcomes
  • All veins can be operated on, regardless of their site or nature

What to expect at your procedure

  • Most operations are performed as a day case procedure at the Kingsbridge Hospital, Belfast
  • You will need to fast from midnight prior to the procedure
  • The procedure required will be explained in detail beforehand, and if you have any questions they will answered carefully
  • Varicose veins are removed through small incisions, typically 2-4mm, which don’t need stitches
  • Most operations take around one hour, you can have something to eat and drink shortly afterwards
  • You should not drive for 48 hours after surgery, so will need transport home

After your procedure

  • You need to stay at the clinic for 3-4 hours after the procedure
  • There are no stitches or staples to be removed, dissolving stitches are always used if required
  • A tight bandage is applied to the leg at the end of the operation, which stays on for 7 days
  • You will see us again 6-8 weeks after your operation for a follow up review



Treatment available at

Maypole Clinic
Chelsea Private Clinic