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Medically reviewed by Lorcan Sheppard BSc MBBS FRCA, Chief Medical Officer for The Private Clinic of Harley Street, London.
Last Reviewed November 21st 2023

Thread & Spider Veins

Spider veins – also called thread veins, broken blood vessels, broken veins and capillary veins –are small red, blue or purple veins that usually appear near the surface of the skin on the thighs, calves and ankles but can also appear on the face.

The Private Clinic is a UK centre of excellence for the minimally invasive treatment of veins. Whether you suffer from varicose veins, facial veins, spider veins or leg thread veins, we provide the highest standard of clinical care and the latest technology. Our expert thread vein specialists will ensure you achieve the best vein treatment with little to no downtime.

Where do thread veins appear?

Spider Veins (also known as Thread Veins, Broken blood vessels) are smaller veins compared to varicose veins. They are often red or blue veins and sit closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They usually appear on the thighs and ankles and can pose a health risk. Broken vein treatment is available in many of our clinics across the UK.

Facial Thread Veins generally appear on the nose, chin or cheek area and often occur in Rosacea. They are easily treated.

Under eye veins also known as periorbital veins are a common cosmetic concern. Veins under the eye are superficial veins which start at the bridge of the nose and run below or above the eye to join venous branches on the forehead and scalp. Everyone has these veins but they can be more prominent, particularly in patients with fair or thin skin. Blue vein under-eye removal treatment is available at our clinic in London, UK.

At The Private Clinic, we have pioneered a state-of-the-art laser treatment for the removal of veins from hands and arms. We were the first clinic to perform this procedure in the UK.

Thread Vein Treatment with Cutera CoolGlide

Thread Vein Patient Review

“I had clusters of spider veins on both legs, which required an initial consultation, followed by three microsclerotherapy treatment sessions, with follow-up appointments to check progress. Mr Rittoo the Consultant Vascular Surgeon was professional, courteous and kind, advising me at all times of what to expect and what I needed to do in between the appointments to ensure a successful result. The staff were also very friendly and put me at ease. I would recommend Mr Rittoo to anyone requiring this treatment, based on my personal experience. I am very happy with the result, which is fantastic. I just wish I had done this 20 years ago.”

– Pamela, Sclerotherapy Patient

Can thread veins be the result of an underlying varicose vein issue?

Although most people seek thread vein removal treatment for cosmetic reasons, research has shown that the majority of people with leg thread veins could have underlying vein problems. They could be minor or major varicose veins, which are often not visible from the surface but can be found with an ultrasound scan of the legs. They can cause aching, itchiness, a feeling of heaviness in the leg and night cramps. If a patient were to have underlying varicose veins, we would provide a treatment plan to help you treat them before addressing any residual spider veins.

Varicose veins are the blue or purplish enlarged veins you see on a person’s leg, most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the legs. If varicose veins are severe, they can rupture or form ulcers on the skin. They can require immediate attention.

Our experience and latest technology mean that your veins will be treated effectively in no time at all. Book a consultation today.

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Leg Thread Veins Before & After Photos

We are one of the UK’s centres of excellence for minimally invasive treatments for vein problems. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent results and aftercare in Thread and Spider Vein removal procedures. See our before and after Leg Thread Spider Vein photos from our team of experts below.  Book a consultation to discuss the best procedure for you and to see more before and after photos for thread and spider vein removal.

What to Expect

There are several Thread Veins Removal treatments available for thread veins depending where they are. We offer Sclerotherapy, as well as Laser treatments, such as our Cutera CoolGlide. Your practitioner or therapist will advise you on the most suitable treatment for your leg thread or spider veins, taking into consideration their location.


Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment that reduces the visibility of thread veins found on the legs. Prior to the start of your procedure, the treatment area will be thoroughly cleansed, usually with an alcohol-based cleanser.

During broken vein treatment for the legs, the affected veins or capillaries will be injected with a very thin needle containing a sclerosing agent which is dispensed at one-inch intervals along the thread vein. Sclerotherapy is commonly performed with a concentrated saline solution. The sclerosing agent causes the vein walls to become sticky and blood is no longer able to pass through. When no blood is passing through, the capillaries will collapse and be absorbed by the body therefore gradually disappearing from view.

Consultation Image 1

Cutera CoolGlide

The CoolGlide laser thread vein treatment directs intense light at thread veins which causes the blood within them to coagulate and divert back into veins located deeper below the surface of the skin. The targeted thread vein is then gradually absorbed by the body. The Cutera CoolGlide is effective at treating thread veins all over the body including the face.

We recommend 1-2 treatments but this will depend on the amount, size and colour of the veins being treated.

How are Spider Veins treated?

Consultation Image 1


The appearance of small thread veins after Sclerotherapy will be reduced after 3-6 weeks. Larger thread veins may not see results until 3-4 months.

The CoolGlide laser treatment can result in a significant improvement within two to six weeks of treatment but it can take several months to see the final results from treatment.

With both treatments, you can get back to normal activities right away.

After Sclerotherapy treatment the area treated may appear red and irritated but this will fade quickly. You may also notice bruising on the veins that have been treated; these will fade after a few weeks. You will be required to wear compression stockings and you must keep the treated area out of the sun for 6 weeks post-treatment.

You must avoid exercise and sun exposure for 4-6 weeks following Cutera CoolGlide laser treatment. You may notice some redness and swelling in the area treated but this should only last a few hours. Any bruising after treatment usually starts to fade after 1-2 weeks.

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Consultation Image 1


What causes thread veins?

Thread veins are broken blood vessels that occur when there is pressure on capillaries and finer veins which results in damage or expansion of the vein causing them to become permanently dilated.

Dilation is when the muscular walls of the vein vessels relax causing the blood vessel to widen, which is medically known as vasodilation.

When the blood vessel is dilated, there is an increase in blood flow throughout the vein. The increased blood flow causes the vein to become more prominent and it is then known as a thread or spider vein.

There are a number of reasons why thread veins, spider veins or broken blood vessels may occur. These include:

  • Genetics – If broken blood vessels, spider veins or thread veins are common in your family then you are going to be more prone to developing them too.
  • Age – As we become older, we come more at risk of developing broken blood vessels or thread veins as the collagen and elastin in the skin break down. This causes the skin to become thinner and veins to become more noticeable.
  • Trauma – Injury or trauma to the skin can cause broken blood vessels/thread or spider veins to develop.
  • Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions such as rosacea and liver disease can make you more likely to develop broken blood vessels, thread/spider veins.
  • Hormones – Hormonal changes such as puberty, menopause and pregnancy can cause spider veins to develop as body tries to adapt which is why women are often more susceptible to developing broken capillaries than men.

Thread veins can be successfully treated, book a consultation with one of our experts today to find out how we can help.

Can certain lifestyle factors and your genes make you more susceptible to visible veins (varicose and thread) on certain parts of the body?

One of the inherited risk factors for varicose veins is a positive family history of varicose veins.

Occupations that involve lots of standing are also a risk factor for developing varicose veins.

Being pregnant and having a high BMI can also exacerbate varicose veins.

Thread veins can be idiopathic or secondary to hormonal changes. Thread veins on legs may be associated with venous reflux or varicose veins.

Sun worshipers may notice that they also develop spider veins because of damage to the collagen.

What causes thread veins on the face?

Facial spider veins or broken capillaries are commonly caused by genetics, They can also be caused by hormone changes, sun exposure and injuries to the area. For example if you have a cold, the pressure of blowing your nose can cause an injury and that can result in the vein bursting resulting into spider veins.

To find out more about what may be causing your veins click here to make an appointment to see one of our specialists.

Best treatment for facial veins is our Cutera CoolGlide or Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments. Both are minimally invasive and don’t require a huge downtime.

Is there anything you can do to prevent thread veins on the face?

In some cases, thread veins are unavoidable especially if you are genetically prone to them.

For others, we would recommend to wear SPF50 daily and try to stay out of the sun. Try to also avoid too much pressure on the face, hard blowing of the nose, leaning and pressure to the cheeks.

Best treatment for thread veins on the face is our Cutera CoolGlide or Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments. Both are minimally invasive and don’t require a huge downtime.

What causes thread veins to appear around the ankles?

Thread veins around the ankle are most often associated with venous reflux which is a condition where the flow of blood through the veins is blocked.

To find out more information about what may be causing your thread veins click here to make a consultation to visit one of our vascular specialists.

How does sclerotherapy work?

Sclerotherapy treatment uses a chemical solution known as a sclerosing agent. This is injected at a number of points that run alongside the thread vein.

The sclerosing agent works to irritate the lining of the veins, which when combined with compression of the leg after treatment; causes the walls of the vein to collapse. Over time, the thread veins will then be absorbed by the body. Multiple treatments will be required to achieve the best results, but sclerotherapy can be very effective in reducing the appearance of most spider veins and some small varicose veins significantly.

In most cases sclerotherapy is performed with a concentrated saline solution however other chemical solutions or special foam may be used if the vein is larger such as a varicose vein.

Do the treatments hurt?

Sclerotherapy is performed under local anaesthetic so you won’t feel any pain at all during the treatment.

If you are having your spider veins removed with CoolGlide laser vein treatment you may feel a slight stinging sensation as the pulses of light are delivered. However, you can opt to use a topical anaesthetic before we start the treatment to minimise discomfort.

How long do the treatments take?

Sclerotherapy takes between 5 and 30 minutes depending on the number of spider veins to be treated. A course of between 3 to 5 treatments is often required to achieve the desired results.

CoolGlide sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes, again depending on the area to be treated. A course of 3 treatments is recommended.

How soon will I see the results?

You will notice an improvement in the appearance of your spider veins after your first treatment session, however, a number of sessions may be needed before the veins are fully eliminated.

The results from a sclerotherapy or Cutera CoolGlide procedure will vary depending on the extent of veins that require treatment. It is important to understand that sclerotherapy or Cutera CoolGlide treatment may not be able to remove spider veins completely and it will not prevent new enlarged veins from developing in the future.

Patients should expect to see significant improvement for at least half of the veins treated and the rest may show partial improvement.

Overall sclereotherapy and Cutera CoolGlide treatments are a great option to safely and effectively reduce the overall appearance of thread veins.

Are there any complications associated with the treatments?

The majority of side effects following Cutera CoolGlide and Scelerotherapy treatments are redness and swelling in the treated areas. Most side effects will reduce over 24-48 hours.

Common side effects of sclerotherapy include; bruising, stinging, swelling, skin discoloration, discomfort and raised red areas that appear around the injection sites.

Common side effects of Cutera CoolGlide treatment is; redness and swelling in the treated area.

More serious side effects include: allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent, ulceration of skin around the injection site, blood clot formation in the treated veins or mild inflammation that can cause discomfort around the injection site.

Your practitioner or surgeon will go through all the side effects associated with treatment both before and after your procedure. Should you have any worries following your treatment, we are on-hand 24 hours to take your call.

Why do I need to wear compression stockings following vein removal treatment?

After you have had Sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins removal it is important to use compression stockings provided to promote proper healing. The compression stocking helps to prevent the veins from re-opening as well as stopping the blood from clotting within the collapsed vein.

Your surgeon or practitioner will provide you with a compression stocking if required and detail the length of time you should wear it for.

Can I have thread vein treatment with tanned skin?

At The Private Clinic we tend not to perform any laser treatments on tanned skin. Ideally any sun exposure should be avoided when having laser treatments.

It is important to let your medical expert know If you have got a tan or if your skin has had a reaction to something as these can increase your risks of adverse side effects such as pigmentation changes.

Your laser specalists will be able to discuss this is more detail and analyse your skin at your consultation.

To find out more about booking a consultation at a clinic near you, contact us here.

What do the treatments involve?

At The Private Clinic, we offer some of the best vein treatments available including;


Sclerotherapy treatment involves using a small thin needle to inject the veins with a solution called ‘sclerosing agent’ which causes them to collapse and fade, improving the appearance as well as the associated symptoms. The full benefit can take up to 12 weeks to be seen. After that you will find that the veins often continue to improve for up to a year after the treatment. Depending on the number of thread veins on the legs, several sessions may be needed to get the required results, but usually three to five will be enough.


The CoolGlide Laser thread vein treatment can be used, especially in the case of smaller spider veins where a needle would not be appropriate. Laser spider vein removal treatment involves directing intense light directly at the veins. This causes the blood within them to coagulate and the blood is then diverted to veins deeper below the surface of the skin where it should be.

Is thread vein removal permanent?

How long will the results last?

Once the veins have been removed, they are gone. However, clients should bear in mind that this does not mean new ones won’t develop. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, weight gain and occupations that involve long periods on your feet can all be contributing factors to developing new thread veins.

How much does Thread & Spider Veins cost?

Thread vein removal costs for Legs

  • Cutera CoolGlide laser thread veins treatment: From £549
  • Sclerotherapy/Microsclerotherapy: from £400

Thread Vein Removal costs for face & eyes

  • Cutera CoolGlide laser thread vein removal for the face: From £309
  • Cutera CoolGlide laser thread vein removal for under the eyes: From £563
  • Regenlite / IPL laser thread vein removal for the face: From £200

Find out more about facial thread vein treatment.

Find out more about under eye thread vein treatment.

If your thread veins are more serious you might be deemed unsuitable for thread vein removal by liquid sclerotherapy  or cutera coolglide and instead referred to a Vascular surgeon for varicose vein treatment.

Our vascular surgeons can perform:

  • Foam Sclerotherapy: from £997
  • EVLA: from £2750
  • VenaSeal: from £3260
  • Phlebectomy: from £1397

If you are having a consultation with a vascular surgeon this will cost £200 but this include a free ultrasound scan of your legs (usually priced between £350 and £450 at most clinics and private hospitals).

Find out more about Varicose Vein treatment.


What is the difference between spider veins and varicose veins?

Spider veins and varicose veins are not the same and treatments for both will be different.

Spider veins or thread veins are small veins that are blue or red in colour. They appear just beneath the surface of the skin often in a web-like pattern or as singular lines.

Varicose veins often have a twisted cord-like appearance and although they sit deeper than thread veins, they often cause the skin to raise where they appear. Varicose veins can be flesh-coloured or blue and often cause pain and cramping in the legs

To find out more about varicose veins click here.

If you are unsure of which type of vein you have and what treatment would be suitable, make an appointment with one of our specalised vascular surgeons here.

Where to have thread vein removal near me?

The Private Clinic has clinics nationwide so we are sure to have a thread vein treatment clinic located near you although treatment options will vary from clinic to clinic.

Is there a thread vein treatment clinic near me?

Where can I get thread vein treatment in London?

London – 98 Harley Street, W1G7HZ

Where can I get thread vein treatment in Manchester?

Manchester –  25 St John Street, M3 4DT

Where can I get thread vein treatment in Birmingham?

Birmingham – 88 Hagley Road, B16 8LU – West Midlands

Where can I get thread vein treatment in Leeds?

Leeds – 45 Park Square North, LS1 2NP – Yorkshire

Where can I get thread vein treatment in Northampton?

Northampton – 82 Billing Road, NN1 5DF – East Midlands

To find out more about booking a consultation at a clinic near you, contact us here.

What causes thread veins on legs?

Thread veins on the legs may be associated with venous reflux or varicose veins.

When we see patients for treatment for leg veins, we usually advise that they have a duplex ultrasound scan to make sure there are no underlying venous issues or varicose veins that would require treatment first.

Thread veins on the legs are caused by broken blood vessels. The blood vessels become dilated causing them to widen and the blood flow increases. As the blood flow increases, the veins become more prominent and appear as visible thread or spider veins on the legs.

A number of things can cause thread veins on the legs including:

  • Hormones
  • Medical Conditions
  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Trauma

If you are concerned about thread veins on your legs, book a consultation to see how we can help.

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