Thermocoagulation, also known as ‘ThermaVein®’, is a microwave technique used to destroy thread veins on the face.

The thermocoagulation procedure is minimally invasive, safe, effective and permanent, with instant visible changes.


What is thermocoagulation?

Thermocoagulation, sometimes referred to as ‘ThermaVein®’ (the brand name of the machine used to perform thermocoagulation treatment), is a technique used to destroy thread veins (also known as spider veins) on the face.

Whilst microsclerotherapy is the usual recommended treatment for thread veins on the legs, we never use microsclerotherapy on facial thread veins. This is due to the small risk that the injected liquid could enter blood vessels that are linked to the eyes or brain. Microsclerotherapy can also cause skin staining, which may last for many months and would appear unsightly on the face.

In contrast, thermocoagulation is very safe, with no risk of skin staining. The treatment is effective and permanent, with instant visible changes and minimal aftercare.

Thermocoagulation is predominantly used to treat face veins, but it can also be used to treat veins on other parts of the body. For example, it is used on thread veins in the legs for a small percentage of people who don’t respond well to microsclerotherapy. This is because some patients have such fine thread veins in the legs that they’re too small to access with a needle. Others can’t seem to get rid of their thread veins despite adequate injections.

What does thermocoagulation involve?

‘ThermaVein®’, is a micro thermal coagulation procedure that removes smaller thread veins. The procedure is completely non-invasive, and simply involves applying a precisely targeted source of heat to seal the veins.

Thermocoagulation works by sealing the tiny, thin-walled face veins closed. Heat is applied using microwave energy at the end of a minuscule needle, which just pricks the very surface of the skin that covers the vein. The vein itself is not punctured.

Heat is introduced every few millimetres along the vein, through the small needle. The vein instantly disappears in front of your eyes. There will be an inflammatory response to the treatment which may leave you with some redness and the appearance that the veins are still there. This can last a few weeks. Sometimes veins will require a further session of thermocoagulation treatment in order to get a full cosmetic resolution. This will be discussed at consultation and after every appointment.

For most patients, thermocoagulation is very tolerable. It is often described to feel like small electric shocks. The thermocoagulation procedure can make your eyes water when done around the nose.

A detailed description of the thermocoagulation procedure


The thermocoagulation 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 thermocoagulation 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 initial stage involves cleansing of your skin, to ensure we are starting with a clean palette.

The ThermaVein® device delivers a precise, controlled burst of heat energy through a fine probe. This heat energy is targeted at the thread veins, causing them to coagulate and seal shut. The procedure is performed with utmost precision by a trained professional to avoid damage to surrounding skin.

The appointment length of thermocoagulation is around 45 minutes. This includes consultation, the consent process and also the treatment, in which time we’ll treat as many veins as we can. If you feel like you would benefit from more cosmetic improvement, you may need to return for another session.


After the thermocoagulation procedure your specialist may apply a soothing gel to the treated area. There is typically no need for bandages or dressings, or requirement for a follow-up consultation.

You’ll be able to leave the clinic as soon as your treatment has been completed, and you should be fine to go about your normal day-to-day activities.


During treatment a slight tingling sensation can be felt. Following treatment, skin will be red and feel warm. In most cases redness will calm down within a day, depending on skin type. There may be slight redness in the surrounding skin for a few days, but this may last longer, although this is not common. The area treated may also be dry, scabbed, darkened or crusted.

The vessels treated will gradually fade and be broken down by the body. Further treatment sessions, if required, can be carried out from two weeks later (six weeks for leg veins).

Treatment risks

As with all medical procedures, it’s important that you weigh up the benefits of having thermocoagulation for your face veins, versus the risks of side effects. All medical treatments carry a certain amount of risk, but thermocoagulation is very safe. You can find a full list of risks for all our vein treatments on our treatment FAQs page.

Follow up

The area that has been treated will be red and feel warm to the touch immediately after treatment, as it is an inflammatory response. This will usually calm down within the first few days. The treated skin may also start to feel dry and develop a few tiny micro scabs. In the days following treatment, some larger vessels may appear visible. This is normal and the vessels will gradually fade and be broken down by the body.

Although there is little aftercare required following thermocoagulation, there are a few things we recommend.

For the first 48 hours following treatment:

  • Avoid wearing makeup (can be worn after 24 hours if necessary)
  • Wash the treated area gently, do not scrub or rub the area
  • Do not stretch the skin
  • Avoid alcohol and spicy food if you are prone to flushed skin
  • Avoid excessive exercise or any activities which cause sweating or dilation of the capillaries
  • Apply aloe vera gel to the area to help soothe irritated skin

After healing:

  • Use a good broad spectrum SPF to protect the skin
  • Avoid using sunbeds
  • Avoid harsh cleansing, steaming or exfoliation of the skin for the first week
  • Use gentle products
  • Use tepid water on the face, and when showering and having a bath, use water on a moderate temperature
  • Do not stretch or pull the skin for the first week after treatment

Thermocoagulation 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

Is any preparation needed for thermocoagulation?

Can I wear makeup after thermocoagulation treatment?

You can find the answers to these questions and many more in the thermocoagulation 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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