I have some thread veins on my legs and they have always bothered me a little. I’ve never mentioned it before, because on the scale of things they are pretty small-fry – you’d have to be right up close and personal to get a good look at them, and from a distance the little trees of dark veins just look like small areas of bruising. I would never have mentioned them, I suppose, except that recently the opportunity came up to test out a vein removal method called Thermocoagulation.
The thing that had piqued my interest about this particular method was that it offered an alternative to the use of lasers. I have had something of a bee in my bonnet about lasers, recently. I know that they are marvellous things that can rejuvenate your skin, remove hair, remove fat, treat pigmentation, correct your sight…it all seems splendid, but I have my reservations. The thing that has worried me for a while (and no doubt there will be some shock-horror documentary about it soon!) is that there seem to be quite a few places (beauty parlours and “clinics”) with lasers operated by people who – let’s face it – aren’t doctors. Aren’t anywhere near being doctors. Maybe I’m the over-cautious type, but this just doesn’t sit well with me. If someone is cavorting about with a high-intensity laser, a la Goldfinger, then I want them to know what the heck they’re doing! I’ve been doing a bit of internet research and seen loads of consultations and treatments available using lasers to correct skin issues, but it’s not quite clear how (or if) the people in command of the lasers are medically trained or have just gone on a crash course in lasering. If, indeed, a crash course in lasering exists!
Anyway, this isn’t really a post about the “dangers of laser”, because I don’t know enough facts. I just know that I was more than a little interested when I read some material about the Dr Newmans (father and son) clinic and their own worries about the widespread use of lasers. They claim that 20% of their patients are people seeking help after failed or (even worse) botched laser treatments. Sometimes broken veins just can’t be treated with lasers – some skin disorders can’t be treated at all – but it takes someone with experience and knowledge to be able to assess the situation and determine an effective course of action.
I went along to Dr Newmans clinic in London to chat things over with the Dr Brian Newman, who is one of the world’s top experts in thread vein removal. He’s also a very experienced General Surgeon and has trained over 500 consultant surgeons all over the world. If there’s a man who’s qualified to wield a laser, it’s him. But he doesn’t. He wields a…Thermocoagulation Thing instead. (I forget its actual name. It looks like a pen with a piece of wire sticking out of the top.) The reason for the absence of a laser? He uses a method called micro-Thermocoagulation, using microwaves that heat the vein for a tiny fraction of a second, destroying them without causing any trauma to the surrounding skin. The microwaves have a higher success rate than lasers and there’s also no downtime. It’s just a quick fifteen minute task to get rid of quite a number of veins and there’s no risk of scarring, no pain, no bruising and no risk of hyper/hypo pigmentation.
Does this all sound too good to be true? Well it isn’t – I tried it!
Just not on my legs. Dr Newman (very wisely) advised that as I had not yet borne any mini-mes (“I have a cat!” said I, “that counts not,” said he) it would be almost fruitless to treat the little thread veins that were already in existence. He did, however, identify a nice little veiny example on my chest that would be perfect for demonstrating on. In the interests of research, then, I laid upon the couch and had my vein removed. JUST LIKE THAT! THERE AND THEN! Dr Newman touched the wand/pen/[insert proper name when you get the chance] to the vein three or four times and there was a miniscule, miniscule snapping sensation. Barely noticeable. Then, when I looked, the vein had disappeared!
Ho, ho, thought I – this is like being retouched on a computer, but live. Live retouching! I will admit that I got a bit overexcited and asked Dr Newman if he could treat anything else – it was just so miraculous. And, obviously, I was testing it. For research. Ahem. Within a couple of seconds he had got rid of the weird spots on my chest that were like little dots of blood that wouldn’t go away. They are called Campbell de Morgan spots and I had had them for years. Quite nice to see them go! (I am not, by the way, suggesting that any of this was necessary for me. Neither the vein nor the spots were a problem, but they were perfect for demonstrating the treatment.) Within another few seconds, the broken vein that ran upwards from my lip had also been Thermocoagulated up to vein heaven.
I couldn’t quite believe that the veins and the blemishes had disappeared. After a couple of hours there was a tiny bit of redness, but that was it. Minute scabs formed over the pinprick places where the wand had touched the skin and after a day or so, these fell off. And that was that!
Now I know that my veins weren’t serious, but for some people, broken veins are a real problem. I know quite a few people who have them on their face and feel embarrassed about them, find them difficult to cover with makeup. Lots of women I know tend to cover their legs because they hate the webs of little black veins that criss-cross over them. It’s quite something, I think, that these veins can be treated so easily if you feel that you are really affected by them. Even if you’re not psychologically affected by them but would just rather that they weren’t there, it’s a fifteen minute job just to zap them away.
I’m not that into the idea of cosmetic surgery – I wouldn’t totally rule it out, that would be stupid of me. Who knows what the world will be like in twenty years time? But as the world stands today, I don’t really like what I see going on – women all botoxed up to the hilt, with silly puffy lips and stretched faces, most of them looked better before they started! But I think that if something really knocks your confidence and affects you on a daily basis, then how wonderful to have the option to change it. Breast reconstructions after surgery, facial reconstructions after terrible accidents and, on the other end of the scale, the ability to effectively treat things like acne, broken veins and severe rosacea. I would most definitely recommend Thermocoagulation as a method for vein removal and I think that it’s an absolute MUST to see a fully qualified doctor if you want the best treatment. If you’d like to read more about treatment and the ins and outs, I’ve linked to Dr Newman’s website below!
Treatment starts from £395: www.drnewmansclinic.co.uk
(By the way, there was supposed to be a video of the procedure, but something odd has happened to the disk! If I ever return for my leg veins, I shall make sure to film it for you on my Camcorder, if permitted. It would be great to show how absolutely simple the procedure is – quicker and nicer than having your eyebrows tidied!)
**UPDATE: I’ve found this brilliant little film on Channel4 Embarrassing Bodies, starring our very own Dr Newman! It shows the whole procedure from start to finish and explains the thermocoagulation process really well. If you want to see the page in its entirety, it’s here: Channel4**