What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure done by Silk's Physician Assistants to treat uncomplicated spider veins and uncomplicated reticular veins. The treatment involves the injection of a Asclera into the affected veins.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are very small and very fine red or blue veins. They are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like a thin red line, tree branches or spider webs. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face and may cover a small or large area.
What are reticular veins?
Reticular veins can also be known as feeder veins. They are the blue and green veins beneath the surface of the skin.
Reticular veins enlarge because of increased pressure in the vein. They can be caused by heredity. You may have reticular veins alone but you may also have spider veins at the same time.
What causes spider and reticular veins?
Spider and reticular veins can be caused by many factors:
- Heredity. Having a family member with prominent veins may increase the risk of you developing them. Approximately half of the people who get varicose veins have a family history of them.
- Age. The normal wear and tear of aging may cause valves in the veins to weaken and not work as well.
- Gender. Women are two to three times more likely to develop varicose veins than men. Up to half of American women have varicose veins. Changes in hormones due to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills may increase a woman's risk of developing varicose veins.
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the growth of the fetus increases the pressure on the veins in the legs. Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually improve within 3 to 12 months following delivery.
- Overweight and obesity. Having extra weight on the body can put additional pressure on the veins.
- Prolonged standing or sitting. This is particularly true with legs bent or crossed. When standing or sitting with legs bent or crossed, the veins have to work harder to pump the blood up to the heart.
Other possible causes for varicose veins are race, posture, occupation, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, primary valvular incompetence, and incompetent perforating veins.
What is Asclera® (pronounced a skler ah)?
Asclera® (polidocanol) Injection is a prescription medicine that is used in sclerotherapy to treat two types of veins:
- Uncomplicated spider veins (very small varicose veins = 1 mm in diameter)
- Uncomplicated small varicose veins (1 to 3 mm in diameter) known as reticular veins
How does Asclera® work?
Asclera® is a sclerosing agent that is injected into the vein. It works by damaging the endothelium, the cells lining the inside of blood vessels. This causes blood platelets and cellular debris to attach to the lining of the vessels; eventually, cellular debris and platelets cause the blood vessel to clot. Over time, the clotted vein will be replaced with tissue.
How long is each Asclera® session?
A typical sclerotherapy session lasts 15 to 30 minutes. One injection is usually administered per inch with multiple injections per session. Following treatment compression stockings or support hose should be worn continuously for 2-3 days and for 2-3 weeks during the day time. Repeat sessions may be necessary. If additional treatment sessions are required they are usually reparated by 1-2 weeks.
What should I expect after receiving an Asclera® injection?
For two to three days following the treatment, avoid (if you are uncertain, please ask your healthcare provider):
- Heavy exercise
- Long plane flights
- Hot bath or sauna
You should not be treated with Asclera® if you:
- Have a known allergy to polidocanol
- Have an acute vein or blood clotting (thromboembolic) disease
- Are pregnant or nursing