Voiceover: Pauline came to see Dr Pixie concerned about an abundance of small red veins on her face.
Dr Pixie: When you stretch the skin out they are very apparent, they’re like little spiders. They are what we call Telangiectasia.
Voiceover: Today she’s come to see vascular surgeon, Dr Brian Newman, to see if he can help clear them up.
Dr Brian: Now there you can see these very big veins on the side of your nose and then you’ve got these generalised veins on your cheek. Now, when you look at the veins on your cheek you can see the main vein and very fine branches in the background, it’s just a little bit pink. Now here you’ve got the same on your chin but more pink there and this cheeks the same. These veins are almost certainly caused because of a blockage in the sweat gland. Now, what’s happening is you have a sweat gland and there’s the surface of your skin. Whenever you block up a gland you get a low grade infection. And when you get an infection the area goes red so you get lots of little blood vessels developing and then over a period of time, because that infection isn’t getting any better, those little blood vessels can’t cope and bigger ones develop. Now, you’re treating this yourself and you’re doing what most patients do, and you’ve treated it by covering it up. Of course you put your make up on and that blocks that up a bit more. And the more you block that up the more red it becomes.
Pauline: Is that why it’s getting worse?
Dr Brian: Yeah. Now the good news is we can get rid of all these big veins and that’s fortunately very easy to do. And the way we do that is to use a very, very fine probe, there it is there, can you see that?
Pauline: I can, yeah.
Dr Brian: It’s heated up for a split second and we’re going to run along each one of those veins and the veins will just go.
Pauline: Is it painful?
Dr Brian: No, it feels like a hair being pulled out.
Pauline: Oh, good.
Dr Brian: I‘m going to start on your cheek. The sensations that, alright?
Pauline: Yeah fine.
Dr Brian: Can you cope with that?
Dr Brian: That wasn’t worth being worried about was it? I’m going to go through these quite quickly now and that stops any swelling.
Voiceover: Dr Newman employs a pioneering procedure called micro-thermocoagulation. A precision needle is inserted into the skin and high frequency microwave energy is passed down to heat the vein. This kills the vein which allows it to fade and disappear completely.
Dr Brian: I’m going about a thousandth of an inch under the skins surface. And this probe is (three thousandths of an inch) so it’s very, very fine. So we’re just going sub-epidermal. We’re going to do your nose now. It’s a little bit more uncomfortable just on the side of your nose. So, we’re going to just run along these veins and these big veins are just disappearing. How long have you had these ones for? Years?
Dr Brian: Well, they’re just gone in a few seconds. They’ve disappeared.
Pauline: Thank you.
Dr Brian: Now, I’m just going to do the big vein going into your nose, I’m going to pull quite hard on your nose here.
Voiceover: When administered properly the treatment should not leave any scarring or pigmentation on the skin.
Dr Brian: And this side and then we’re finished. Good.
Voiceover: And now Pauline’s back at the clinic to show Dr Pixie the results.
Dr Pixie: You are like a new lady.
Pauline: Thank you.
Dr Pixie: When we met you were having these big problems with all your thread veins on your face and I think you were always worried that people thought you were either drinking or you were doing something, that you were causing the problem yourself. Now, what’s happened to you? They’re all gone.
Pauline: Well, I’ve been to see Dr Newman.
Dr Pixie: Right.
Pauline: And I had the treatment with him and it was fantastic.
Dr Pixie: Although laser is quite a common treatment for this, you actually went and you were micro waved effectively.
Pauline: That’s right.
Dr Pixie: Was it painful?
Pauline: Not really, it was almost pain free.
Dr Pixie: Almost pain free.
Pauline: It was just a little bit red afterwards.
Dr Pixie: And then that fades after a couple of days?
Pauline: Yes, yes.
Dr Pixie: Pauline, can I just get you to slip your glasses off to have a look at these.
Pauline: Of course.
Dr Pixie: Now, your worst areas were all around here and quite a bit here on the side of the nose. And then I remember on the tip of the nose and underneath the nose was a bit of a problem as well wasn’t it?
Dr Pixie: But it’s great, it looks fantastic.
Pauline: Yeah, it’s just been a brilliant result for me.
Dr Pixie: So with your new glowing beautiful face now, what’s changed? Because you were really self conscious about this.
Pauline: I’ve been out without make up on.
Dr Pixie: But you never went anywhere…
Pauline: I didn’t hang my washing out unless I had makeup on so it does a lot for your self-confidence.
Dr Pixie: Have other people commented on it?
Pauline: Yes, I’ve been accused of having Botox.
Dr Pixie: Have you?
Pauline: I guess we tend to associate these sorts of veins with older ladies don’t we? So, understandably, when they disappear overnight people think you’ve had something done.
Dr Pixie: Fantastic. Well, you look great and we’re glad you’ve got your confidence back.
Pauline: Thank you.
Dr Pixie: Obviously, just to keep your skin looking the way it is you need to really moisturise, keep that moisturisation and remember the sun block. Lovely to see you again.
Pauline: Thank you very much, thank you for your help.
Pauline came to see Dr Pixie concerned by an abundance of small red veins on her face. She’s come to see vascular surgeon, Dr Brian Newman to see if he can help clear them up.
Patient Name: Pauline Carroll
Condition: Thread Veins
Specialist: Dr Brian Newman, Vascular Surgeon
Location: Dr Newman’s Clinic
Length of Operation: Approx 15 minutes
Comments and Questions
You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.