Spider veins? ‘Tis the season for sclerotherapy
Do varicose or spider veins make you embarrassed to bare your legs? “There’s a new thing that’s happened in the last four years or so, where women don’t wear hose anymore,” says Mindy, age 62. “We wear dresses and skirts without pantyhose.
“You can wear dark hose in the winter, but God help you if you have regular pantyhose on,” she laughs. “If you wear hose, you look like an old lady! Going bare-legged made me more self-conscious about my spider veins.”
If you suffer from unsightly varicose or spider veins, you’re not alone. Surveys show that 50% to 55% of women have spider veins, and that approximately 15% of adults in the U.S. have varicose veins. “Women have a much higher incidence of varicose veins than men,” Dr. Rappaport notes.
Get rid of those unsightly veins with sclerotherapy
Fortunately, there’s a minimally invasive treatment for spider veins that will make you proud to bare your legs. It’s called sclerotherapy.
“Getting rid of varicose veins and spider veins is definitely a winter sport,” says Dr. Rappaport. “This time of year is ideal for sclerotherapy, as most women will be wearing slacks or stockings for the next few months.”
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive injectable treatment that gets rid of reticular varicose or spider veins. “In March, the FDA approved polidocanol, under the brand name AscleraTM, for treatment of spider veins and reticular (blue) veins up to three millimeters in diameter,” says Dr. Rappaport.
AscleraTM is the first sclerotherapy solution approved by the FDA in more than 60 years. “It has been used in Europe for more than 40 years,” Dr. Rappaport explains. “AscleraTM also has a local anesthetic to make sclerotherapy treatments more comfortable.”
How does sclerotherapy work?
“Sclerotherapy works by injecting a solution designed to irritate the interior walls of reticular veins and spider veins,” Dr. Rappaport explains. “This causes the veins to constrict, close and fade away.”
A sclerotherapy treatment takes only about 45 minutes. “Some patients may need three to five treatments,” says Dr. Rappaport, “but if you have just a few spider veins, one treatment may be enough.”
Why is winter ideal for sclerotherapy?
After sclerotherapy treatments, it takes a few weeks for the slight bruising or irritation around the injection sites to heal and for the reticular or spider veins to fade away. “You’ll also need to wear support stockings for several weeks during the healing process,” Dr. Rappaport explains.
“If you have your sclerotherapy treatments done this time of year, you’ll be proud to bare your legs by spring,” he adds.