Microsclerotherapy is the most common and effective form of treatment for thread veins on the legs. It involves the injection of a diluted drug, called a sclerosant, directly into the visible thread veins.

It requires little to no recovery time, so you’ll be able to resume your normal activities straight away.


What is microsclerotherapy?

While foam sclerotherapy is used to target larger varicose veins, microsclerotherapy uses tiny micro-needles to specifically target thread veins. The sclerosant is also injected directly, without being mixed with air to create a foam. It is by far the most common and most effective form of treatment for thread veins.

Some clinics will offer treatment of thread veins using laser or intense pulse light (IPL). Although this can be quite effective on the face, it is usually both painful and ineffective on the legs.

Similarly to foam sclerotherapy, microsclerotherapy treatment usually only takes around 30-45 minutes per session, depending on how many veins need treating. Most patients describe the treatment as uncomfortable, rather than painful, although the sclerosant may sting slightly.

As microsclerotherapy treatment requires little to no recovery time, you’ll be able to resume your normal activities straight away.

What does microsclerotherapy involve?

Microsclerotherapy involves the injection of a diluted drug, called a sclerosant, directly into the visible thread veins. The drug used in microsclerotherapy is the same as used in foam sclerotherapy (sodium tetradecyl sulphate (STS)). The difference is that, in foam sclerotherapy, the sclerosant is mixed with air to create a foam and is used to treat larger veins.

With meticulous planning and technique, it is possible to get superb results for the vast majority of patients with microsclerotherapy. In general, however, thread veins are surprisingly more difficult to treat than larger varicose veins and can take longer to get rid of.

Most patients require between 2 and 4 sessions of microsclerotherapy, so it is important to note that it might take some time to fully resolve all of your thread veins.

A detailed description of microsclerotherapy treatment


The microsclerotherapy procedure takes place in a treatment room with your consultant and a nurse.

As part of your initial consultation, we will have explained the treatment options available to you (including potential complications and success rates).

At the start of your appointment we will ensure that you fully understand all of the information provided to you. You will then be asked to sign the required documentation before proceeding with the microsclerotherapy treatment.

We can play music of your choice if you like, and a nurse will be at your side throughout the procedure.

The procedure

The microsclerotherapy procedure involves injecting a sclerosant (diluted drug), into your thread veins, which causes localised damage to the inner lining (endothelium). This subsequently causes the injected veins to collapse. The inner lining of the vein becomes thickened, sealing off the vein so that blood can no longer flow through it. The blood is redirected to deeper veins and the dead tissue is eventually absorbed by the body.

During the treatment, your thread veins will initially disappear instantly as the sclerosant is injected into the vein. However, the veins then rapidly become more red and visible again immediately after treatment due to inflammation. The veins can often look worse immediately after microsclerotherapy treatment. It is common to develop localised redness, similar to a nettle sting. It usually takes several days or even weeks for the inflammation to settle, and for the veins to disappear.

As microsclerotherapy involves a series of tiny injections, some patients find this uncomfortable or mildly painful. The sclerosant used may also sting slightly.

Each session usually takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of veins that need treatment. It is important to note that the majority of patients will require more than one session in order to achieve the desired effect.


Once the session has finished, a nurse will help you to put on compression stocking(s) on the affected leg(s). You’ll need to wear these for a full week post-treatment, and the nurse will talk you through how to wear them and bathe in them. You’ll also be provided with aftercare advice, including any post-treatment symptoms to be aware of.

We will ask you to take at least a 10-minute walk following your microsclerotherapy appointment, prior to making your way home, to minimise the risk of blood clots.


Following microsclerotherapy treatment, you will need to wear surgical compression stockings for a week. This will prevent you from swimming but should not restrict your movement.

The sclerosant used may result in some bruising. The extent of the bruising will depend on the size of the area treated and the number of veins in that area.

You can drive on the same day as microsclerotherapy treatment, and resume your normal activities straight away. We strongly encourage you to go on at least a 20-minute walk each day. If there is anything else that you should avoid for a period of time post-treatment, your consultant will discuss this with you.

Treatment risks

As with all medical procedures, it’s important that you weigh up the benefits of having mircosclerotherapy, versus the risks of side effects. You can find a full list of risks for all our vein treatments on our treatment FAQs page.


Following a session of microsclerotherapy, you can book in for a reassessment follow-up with your consultant, or you can book straight in for a further session. We advise you to wait at least 4-6 weeks between appointments, to ensure you get the most benefit from each microsclerotherapy session. 

It is not mandatory to attend and pay for a follow-up appointment after a microsclerotherapy session unless you feel that you would benefit from further treatment. You can assess whether you need to return yourself, based on how your legs look and feel. If you’re happy with the results, then there’s no need to pay for further appointments. 

Microsclerotherapy pricing

Information on the total costs involved in the diagnosis and treatment of thread veins is outlined on our thread veins self-funded pricing page.

Alternatively, if you have medical insurance, please disregard our self-funding prices and refer to our health insurance page. However, please note that medical insurance rarely funds thread vein treatment, as most insurers class thread veins as a cosmetic issue.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between microsclerotherapy and foam sclerotherapy?

How many sessions will I need?

You can find the answers to these questions and many more in the sclerotherapy section of our treatment FAQs page.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, and a member of our clinic team will be pleased to help.

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