Sclerotherapy is a procedure that has been used since the 1930s to treat varicose and spider veins. As the standard of care, it’s considered one of the most effective treatments for removing unwanted leg veining.
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What is Sclerotherapy (Asclera®)?
Do you have leg veins that you are not proud of? When we have purple, blue, or red veins all over our legs, we tend to want to keep them covered up, even in the hottest weather. But what if we told you there were other options to have your legs look amazing. Among the newer aesthetic treatments is Asclera® (polidocanol). This is a prescription medication that is used in the treatment of spider veins. Asclera® is injected into the vein to help reduce this unsightly look. This procedure is called Sclerotherapy. This used to be done by using hypertonic saline, but the problem was it burns and can lead to scarring if not done every time correctly. However, Asclera® is the gold standard for getting rid of veins. It works by damaging the blood vessel lining to clear out the vessel.
Pre and post treatment preparation
There isn’t anything you need to do to prepare for this procedure. Following the treatment, support hose or compression stockings should be worn continuously for 2-3 days and 2-3 weeks during the daytime only. Also, 2-3 days after treatment, patients should avoid hot baths, spas, long flights, saunas, sunbathing, and heavy exercise to avoid reopening the veins. The stocks or pressure hose keep the veins closed as we want them.
What to expect when undergoing treatment
The treated area will have a visual effect during your visit, which will last 15-45 mins. This means that during treatment, you can see the vein being cleared. This is called blanching. We begin along the main vein branch. Once we have that cleared, we will inject the branch veins. The needles used are tiny. They are the same needles that we use in our Botox injections. These 32 gauge needles are very comfortable and easy to work with.
It depends on the size of the vein, whether it will feel like a burn or a pinch. The more prominent veins will burn, while the smaller vein will feel like a pinch. This pinching and burning only lasts during treatment and will not last after leaving the office. This is a good sign that the vessel has closed down. These can reopen with vigorous exercise. So, be sure to take time off if you exercise regularly. Pressure stockings that can be worn will also assist in keeping the veins closed and looking their best. It would be best to avoid hot environments after treatment as they can open up the veins again. When you are hot, your veins open up to cool down the body. You want your veins to remain closed, so avoid getting too hot for a few days after treatment.
What to expect during your procedure
- Cold air will be applied to the skin’s surface during the procedure. This keeps the skin cool while the laser heats the skin. It is used to protect the skin’s surface layer.
- There are multiple passes made over the treatment area with the handpiece.
- Your eyes will be protected.
- The area will be treated for 30-60 mins. However, you will have topical numbing cream applied before the procedure begins to ensure you are comfortable.
After the procedure
- Do not use a washcloth to clean the area after the procedure for at least 3-5 days or when things return to feeling normal.
- Gentle cleansing with fingertips is fine.
- Makeup is acceptable to wear as long as you are not wiping it or rubbing it too much to wear or remove unless otherwise instructed by the physician or esthetician.
- It is okay to shower on the day of the procedure.
- Do not pick, wipe or rub the treatment area.
- Apply sunscreen with Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide daily. UVA rays do penetrate through windows.
- Your skin might feel like very light sandpaper for a few days or a little rough to the touch.
- Mild swelling and redness might occur.
- You will have redness which will feel like a sunburn, with the heat coming from the skin. It is okay to take an over-counter pain reliever should you feel it necessary.
About Sclerotherapy (Asclera®)
The idea behind Sclerotherapy is to block the veins so that the body will reroute them naturally, eventually dying off. Over time, the old veins will be absorbed into the body naturally. However, there are times that the vein might not get the chance to die off completely. In this case, more treatments in that area may be needed. Most of the time, the treatments are permanent, meaning you will not need to have the treatments done repeatedly on the same area/vein.
It is very effective but might take more than one appointment to achieve the desired results. On average, it will take 3-5 treatments, but it can take 1-10 treatments depending on what is being treated. Asclera® is known to have less chance of hematomas, less pain, and less irritation than other types of Sclerotherapy treatments. It also has less scarring.
There are two types of veins that are treated using Sclerotherapy. These are spider veins and reticular veins. Reasons for having these veins are gender, age, heredity, obesity, pregnancy, and prolonged sitting or standing. Interestingly, women are more likely to get these veins than men. If you have unsightly leg veins, set up a free consultation to determine if Asclera® is right for you.
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