Are the needles used painful?

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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.

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