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Are the needles used painful?

Dr Param addresses one of the most common questions asked about the treatment of varicose and spider veins: “Are the needles you use painful?” Short answer: No, find out more in this short video:


Hi, Dr. Gan from Doctor Vein Medical Clinic. Some of the patients coming in for treatment of their spider veins or varicose veins often are a little bit concerned about needles, specifically, are they going to be painful? Is it going to cause discomfort? I can understand where this comes from because if you’ve never had this procedure done before, it’s quite normal to actually feel a little bit anxious because you’re not sure what’s going to happen on the day, and if you actually go to a doctor and you actually speak about this, no one really talks about, are you going to feel any discomfort? They just mention, “This is a procedure. We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna do it under local anaesthetic. You shouldn’t feel it, and it’s gonna be fine,” and most of the time, it is fine.

This probably stems from immunisations that people got when they were kids or even as adults, and even dental procedures where they had local anaesthetic, which, really, even with dental procedures these days, they do it so quickly and so finely that most patients do not feel anything at all.

Today, I’m going to actually be talking about the needles that I use, and, specifically, I’m going to actually use myself as a demo model and show you the placement of a needle into my skin.

It all comes down to what types of treatments that’s been done. If sclerotherapy or micro-sclerotherapy, whereby we’re injecting a solution to these really fine, baby spider veins, I usually use very, very small needles, and these needles are so fine that you just feel a little bit of a prick as it goes in, and other than that, you don’t really feel it. There’s some parts of our bodies, especially around your feet and ankles that are a little bit more sensitive, and also around the knees into the back of the knee. They’re more sensitive than the rest of your body, but for most places, especially in the legs, you’re not going to really feel much. I’m going to demonstrate with my arm, and I’m going to use my forearm, how it actually feels using one of these needles.

To give you a little bit of a back story, I’m actually terrible with needles. I can give needles, but receiving needles, forget about it. I’m really bad at it. Even though I’ve done thousands and thousands of needles in some form for patients, I’m really bad at receiving it. To be honest, I think about probably four to five years ago, I was getting blood taken, and the young girl was really worried because she thought I was going to pass out, but I’ve actually improved since then. I’m actually quite good. I can watch the procedure being done, and I’m getting better, and before you start judging me and thinking that, come on, it’s just a needle, it’s actually a very common thing for men, and I know I’m defending myself here, but it does happen for some patients, that are a bit worried about needles. I’m one of those people. I’m actually going to be sticking a needle in my forearm right now while I’m actually taking this video. If I can do that, then it can’t be that bad.

This is the needle that we use or I basically I use. Different doctors use different needles. I use a really fine needle here that is … It actually flows really well, and it doesn’t cause much discomfort, so most patients are quite happy.

Placing it on the skin, pierce the skin, in the skin. Didn’t really feel it. It’s actually not to bad. You feel a little bit of prick. I’d be lying if I didn’t say you felt a little bit of a prick. You feel a little bit of a prick, but, other than that, it goes in quite smoothly. Once it’s in, you don’t actually feel anything, and this is a sensitive part of the body, especially around the forearm, around the back of you hand, and take that off, not much of anything, no bleeding, very small needle.

If you’re having sclerotherapy or micro-sclerotherapy, these are the types of needles that I use. For other procedures, such as your ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, we use a similar needle, but it’s a little bit longer. With this procedure, specifically, I can be completely honest with you, when it happens, patients don’t even realise that it’s happened. Oftentimes, I’ve finished the procedure, and they’re asking me, “Are you finished, or are you done? Did you already do it,” because they’re actually quite surprised that they didn’t actually feel much. Oftentimes, with these procedures, such as your ultrasound-guided procedures, you’re not really going to feel anything.

Moving on to your intravenous laser ablations and even, to that matter, surgical removal of some these varicose veins under local anaesthetic, most patients are quite happy. The ones that actually feel anything or feel a little bit uncomfortable are the ones that are a little bit more sensitive to the local anaesthetic that’s injected rather than the needles themselves. Oftentimes, it’s something that’s very much accepted by patients, and even when they do feel a little bit of the local anaesthetic, it’s very short lived, and they’re often speaking about their families or holidays that they’re going on, so it happens quite quickly and, actually, it doesn’t really concern them that much.

Overall, needles are really well accepted. My hope in this video is that it just removes any worry and concern about these needles, and that for the patient or for person that’s coming in for the first treatment, if you’re watching this, you have nothing to worry about.

To actually end this, I would like to mention a patient that I recently treated. She had a needle phobia. That’s why she came in. She said, “I have a phobia with needles.” The first thing I was thinking at that time was that this is going to be a very interesting case, and I was talking to her about, “Is this something you really wanna do because if you’re scared about needles and I’m gonna have give you a few needles into your legs, is this something that you really wanna do?” She was quite adamant that she wanted to do it. To be honest, after I treated her and we completed treatment, she did really well and she actually told me that she didn’t actually feel uncomfortable at all. She said most of the discomfort was in her head because she had this idea that it’s going to really, really hurt, and she didn’t actually feel any of that, so she did really well, and she said the needles are actually not a big deal.

I hope this gives you some sort of idea about needles. Hopefully, you have no concerns if you come in for your treatment.

Treating Spider Veins with Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is one of the most effective ways to treat spider veins of all sizes. Often times if patients have clusters of spider veins, this is the only method available to get rid of them. With many patients, they do however also have varicose veins associated with their spider veins and again, sclerotherapy is a great way to treat both. In this video, I break down how it is done, what is to be expected and after care, once they have been treated.

#Sclerotherapy #SpiderVeins #TreatingSpiderVeins #TreatingVaricoseVeins

What Causes Varicose Veins?

What Causes those Unsightly Varicose Veins? Why are you affected more than other people of the same age or even your friends and family. In this video, I break down the commonest causes as to why you develop varicose veins.

Simplifying Varicose Veins – The 3 Levels

Simplifying Varicose Veins into the 3 Levels. Varicose veins and spider veins are a very common condition that many patients have. In this video, I break down the different types of veins and how each one is connected. More importantly, I highlight what type of treatment is required for each level.

What is Sclerotherapy for varicose veins and spider veins?

Sclerotherapy (Pronounced skle-ro-therapy), has been around since the 17th century.  It was not until 1916, when the use of modern sclerotherapy treatment for varicose veins was founded. The word “Skleros” itself comes from the Greek word to make hard. Different solutions and sclerosants have been created since then, that are not only safe but highly effective in removing varicose and spider veins.

What is it?

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure, whereby a “sclerosant solution” is injected directly into the vein. This then irritates the inner lining of the vein wall causing it to harden and then get absorbed by the body. The absorption by the body is similar to what happens when you develop a bruise after a fall. It eventually disappears.

It is commonly used for varicose veins and spider veins but can also be used for vascular and lymphatic malformations, hemorrhoids (dilated veins in the anal canal) as well as for hydroceles (fluid in a body cavity).

How is it performed?

Sclerosant solution is injected using very small needles either directly into the vein or by using ultrasound guidance for veins that are not visible.

The solutions can be injected directly as a liquid or as a foam. Both are as effective for spider veins, but foam is generally found to be more effective for bigger veins hiding under the skin.

Is it painful?

This is a very common question and the simple answer is no. Some solutions used for sclerotherapy can cause stinging when first injected and others cause some slight itchiness during the procedure. The solution I use has an anaesthetic property as well that further reduces any pain. It is important to note that the needles used are tiny and not ordinary sized needles. Generally, it is very well tolerated by most people. Many who do get treated are often surprised how little discomfort there is.

Recovery time?

Most patients who get sclerotherapy can be treated and go straight to work or any other day to day activities. It is often recommended to not do heavy exercise or weight lifting for the first 5 days after sclerotherapy.

It is also advisable to walk daily for 30 to 45 minutes each day after treatment and wear medical compression stockings during that period.

How many treatments will I need?

This is challenging to answer without examining a patient and doing a duplex ultrasound. Most patients generally need at least 3 treatments of sclerotherapy. Some patients have multiple spider veins scattered everywhere and, in that case, more treatments may be needed. Also, some treatments may need a combination of different procedures with sclerotherapy just being one of them. I advise patients as to what will be required during their initial consultation.

Is it effective?

Treatment of spider and varicose veins using sclerotherapy can be very effective. Even after the first few weeks post treatment considerable changes in the appearance of varicose and spider veins can be seen. The final results will be visible 6 months post treatment.

I personally treat all my patients and at Doctor Vein, our focus is only on veins. We strive for the best outcomes and endeavor to deliver the best results.

If you have any questions about Sclerotherapy, please send me an email to