A mum of three who faces having skin grafts on her leg after a cosmetic procedure to remove thread veins went wrong is warning others about the possible side effects of the treatment.

Nichola Heard, 45, from Chelmsford has been left with painful ulcers and dead tissue on her left leg after undergoing sclerotherapy, a cosmetic procedure which improves the appearance of thread veins.

The ulcers are more than two inches long and she has been told that she is likely to need skin grafts to help them heal.

Mrs Heard has instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate how the straight forward procedure left her in so much pain.

Mrs Heard had felt embarrassed by her legs for years due to the tiny veins around her knees and calves. She decided to undergo the procedure after hearing about it on TV programme, Embarrassing Bodies.

Told that any side effects were minor

Her husband had just booked their first trip abroad in 20 years and she was anxious about wearing shorts and skirts in the heat. After watching a woman undergo the procedure on the documentary she believed this was an easy answer to her anxieties.

As a self employed carer and housekeeper she wanted to make sure that the treatment, which involves injecting a solution into the veins causing them to dissolve and disappear, would not affect her work.

She spent hours researching it online and spoke with a consultant where she was told that any side effects were minor and may include slight swelling and redness or bruising at the vein site. There was no mention that it might cause blistering or ulcers.

Confident that she would be able to have the procedure done without the risk of becoming ill she booked to have the treatment on her left leg on 8 August, 2011.

It only took 40 minutes and she went home wearing support stockings as advised. The next morning she woke up to find eight blisters on her leg where the veins were. Over the next few days her leg became swollen and she developed open, weeping ulcers.

She was prescribed three courses of antibiotics by her GP, took strong painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs and had to take time off work.

Left with scarring and may need cosmetic surgery

Almost eight weeks later she still has the ulcers and has been referred to a tissue viability clinic where they have said that she will be left with scarring and may need cosmetic surgery.

It is suspected that the ulcers were caused by too much solution being injected into her leg.

She said: “For years I’ve felt self conscious about my leg and when I saw on tv that there was a easy way to get rid of the veins I decided to go for it. I didn’t go into this blind. I did a lot of research and everywhere I looked it said the side effects were minor. Had there even been a one in a 1,000 chance of this happening I wouldn’t have gone ahead with it because I couldn’t risk being off work.

“I want to highlight what has happened to me so that other women are aware that this can happen.

“I’m still dealing with the effects of having this done and don’t know how my leg will look once they’ve healed but I do know that they are likely to be badly scarred and I won’t be wearing skirts or shorts on our holiday.”

Rachael Bewers from Thompsons Solicitors in Chelmsford added: “Many women undergo this procedure to help improve the appearance of thread veins. Like Mrs Heard they trust that the side effects are minor. We are now helping Mrs Heard to establish whether the problems she is experiencing have been caused by negligent treatment and support her in her efforts to warn those thinking about having this treatment to consider the possible wider implications.”