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What is Thread Vein Removal?

By J.M. Willhite
Updated May 17, 2024
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Thread vein removal is a noninvasive procedure used to alleviate issues related with varicose vein development. Individuals may undergo this procedure for various reasons, from cosmetic concerns to improving circulation and alleviating leg discomfort. As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with thread vein removal, including infection, nerve damage and blood clot formation, and these should be discussed during one’s consultation prior to planning the procedure.

The presence of spider and varicose veins originate with poor circulation that frequently affects the lower extremities, namely the legs. When arterial valves deteriorate, due to injury or age, blood that would normally circulate through the valve will accumulate in and around the valve, causing arterial distention. Spider veins are considered more of a cosmetic issue due to the painless, fine webbed appearance they adopt. With time, the distention associated with varicose vein development can worsen, forcing the veins to press closer to the surface of the skin, causing discoloration and in some cases the formation of ulcerated tissue. Additional signs of varicose veins include sensations of heaviness and numbness in the affected appendage, especially when sitting or standing for long periods of time.

Spider and varicose veins are generally diagnosed with a visual examination of the affected area. The tell-tale characteristics of their appearance and the presentation of patterned symptoms that accompany their development make a diagnosis rather easy to establish. Individuals who exhibit moderate to severe presentations of varicose vein development may undergo imaging tests to evaluate arterial function, assess circulation and detect the presence of any blood clot formation.

Traditional noninvasive treatment for spider and varicose veins generally involves behavioral and lifestyle changes, including keeping the affected area elevated whenever possible, avoiding prolonged standing or sitting and using support hose to promote proper circulation. When individuals do not respond positively to traditional treatment options or they express concern over the appearance of their varicose veins, thread vein removal may be a feasible treatment option. The procedure may be performed with sclerotherapy or a laser.

Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a saline solution into the affected vein to promote its deterioration. Performed over the course of several treatments, sclerotherapy is generally utilized in the treatment for spider veins and eventually causes the targeted vein to scar and, ultimately, disappear. The procedure does carry a risk for arterial irritation, impaired circulation within the affected area and nerve damage.

Thread vein removal for prominent varicose veins generally involves the use of a laser. Using image-guided technology, such as an ultrasound, the procedure is performed with a small, flexible catheter that delivers anesthetic medication to the targeted vein. Heat is utilized to cauterize and collapse the vein, causing it to fade and ultimately disappear. Risks associated with this form of thread vein removal include bruising, arterial inflammation and infection.

Prior to either procedure, individuals are instructed to provide a list of any medications they are taking to prevent any kind of interaction or complications their use may trigger. Additionally, any medications that may interfere with blood clotting should be discontinued several days prior to the scheduled procedure. Specific pre- and postoperative instructions are generally provided prior to the procedure. Usually, individuals may resume normal activities without restriction within a few days of their procedure.

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