Thread veins on legs are a common problem, with women more likely to develop them than men. These small purple or red veins that can appear from the top of the thigh to the ankle don’t pose a major health problem but may cause discomfort.

Most people with spider veins or thread veins find them unsightly and hide them with clothing or with cosmetic cover-ups. Sclerotherapy is a simple, gold-standard treatment that’s successfully used to correct these unwanted leg veins.


Spider veins or thread veins should not be confused with varicose veins which are swollen and enlarged veins – usually blue or dark purple – that often occur on the legs. Sclerotherapy (also known as microsclerotherapy) is a safe and very effective method of removing unsightly, superficial spider veins and thread veins.

With sclerotherapy, a medical solution – a sclerosing agent – is injected directly into these broken veins using a very fine needle. The solution irritates the lining of the thread vein, causing the walls of the vein to stick together. Blood stops flowing through the leg veins and they collapse. Then, over a period of 2-4 weeks, the residue is absorbed by the body’s natural defence mechanism.

Over a course of sclerotherapy treatments, unwanted leg veins will disappear completely.

Sclerotherapy is used to treat telangiectasia veins on legs. These are also known as surface thread veins, thread veins or spider veins and appear as small clusters of blue or red veins. Unlike varicose veins, they don’t bulge underneath the skin’s surface

Varicose vein treatment is done through surgery, which we do not provide.

Your thread veins may appear worse to begin with after sclerotherapy but should begin to fade after two to three weeks because they’re no longer filled with blood. More than one treatment may be necessary, depending on how many areas need to be treated and could take up to four.

Although sclerotherapy is a solution for the areas treated, and a successful outcome is expected, new areas may appear. Continuous discussion with your medical practitioner is essential.

The sclerotherapy procedure takes around 30 minutes. Legs should not be shaved or have moisturiser on them to prevent any treatment complications. You will need to wear class 2 compression stockings for three days which must also be worn on long haul flights following treatment.

This vein injection treatment is undertaken by experienced clinical nurse specialists with considerable knowledge and years of experience of this technique.

We will explain everything in detail and make you feel at ease and relaxed on the day of your treatment, knowing you’re in safe, expert and medically qualified hands. The treatment will take place at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, our sister clinic.

Sclerotherapy is a vein injection treatment that has been safely used for many years but is not suitable for all patients. For instance, you are not eligible if pregnant and may not be eligible if you have ever had a blood clot.

There is no downtime and you can resume normal activities right away although you should avoid aerobic exercise for 24 hours and must wear class 2 compression stockings for three days.

Some bruising may appear and can last from two weeks and, in some cases, longer.

Many people find their procedure at our clinics more comfortable than expected. That’s because our medical practitioners are so highly skilled and precise.

The needle is ultra fine so you won’t feel more than a slight sting.

What Our Patients Say

Medically reviewed by the MDT Advisory Committee for The Cosmetic Skin Clinic, London and Bucks. Last reviewed on 21st November 2023.

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