What is Asclera?
Asclera is a specific type of sclerotherapy treatment. Sclerotherapy is used to treat smaller varicose and spider veins, by injecting a solution into affected veins that causes them to seal shut and fade from view. Asclera takes sclerotherapy to the next level, by including anesthetic properties to make the procedure more comfortable for patients.
Asclera has been successfully used in Europe for more than 40 years. It was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 2010. The solution has a very high success rate, and results may occur faster with Asclera than other types of sclerosing solutions.
When is it done?
Asclera is most commonly used to treat spider veins – the networks of red and blue lines that appear on the skin’s surface. It may also be used to address small, uncomplicated varicose veins. Asclera is recommended primarily as a cosmetic treatment for affected veins, to reduce or eliminate their appearance on the surface of the skin. However, some patients may also experience relief from uncomfortable symptoms after Asclera treatments. Those symptoms might include aching legs, swelling and leg cramps, especially at night.
How does the procedure work?
Asclera is performed in a physician’s office or outpatient clinic. Treatment usually takes between 15 and 45 minutes, although length of time varies based on the number of veins that will be addressed. The treatment area will be cleansed, and then the physician will inject the Asclera solution into the affected veins, using a very fine needle.
The number of injections required will depend on the size and number of veins to be treated. A single injection typically works on approximately one inch of affected vein. The physician performing the procedure may use magnification or bright lighting to ensure the needle goes directly into the vein. Patients may receive compression dressings and massage immediately after the injection to move solution through the vein and prevent blood from going into the treated vein
What is the recovery like?
After the procedure, patients are usually encouraged to get up and walk to prevent blood clots from forming around the treatment site. Compression stockings may be recommended to promote healthy blood flow and fast healing of the injection sites. The time frame for wearing compression stockings may vary depending on the patient, lasting anywhere from one week to one month. Stockings purchased over-the-counter are not usually strong enough to produce the desired effect after Asclera treatment.
Because no anesthesia is used during the procedure, patients are usually allowed to drive themselves home after their Asclera session. Many patients return to work or normal activities immediately following treatment, although physicians recommend avoiding rigorous exercise, hot baths or long plane rides for two to three days.
Some patients experience mild bruising or swelling at the injection sites, although this side effect is much rarer with Asclera than other types of sclerosing solutions. Skin discoloration may also occur in the area of the injection sites. This side effect may take a number of months to resolve, but usually resolves without medical intervention.
When will the results appear?
Results tend to appear much quicker with Asclera than other types of sclerotherapy solutions. Patients often begin to see results within a few days after their procedure. Studies posted on the Asclera website have shown patients who receive Asclera are around 86% satisfied with the results of their procedure. This satisfaction rating is higher than with sclerotherapy treatments using traditional saline solutions to seal veins shut.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
Some patients will achieve desired results after just one treatment session with Asclera. Others may require additional sessions to fully remove affected veins. Typically desired results are achieves with three sessions of Asclera or less.
Will veins reappear after treatment?
Veins that are treated with Asclera disappear and are reabsorbed by the body, so they cannot return. However, there is no cure for faulty valves that lead to varicose veins, so new veins can appear over time. Additional treatment may be necessary to address these veins. Preventative measures, such as elevating legs regularly and wearing support stockings, may reduce or prolong the risk of new varicose veins from forming.
What is the cost for Asclera?
Asclera typically costs a bit more than treatment using traditional saline sclerosing agents. Treatment sessions may run $500 or more. Because Asclera is usually used as a cosmetic treatment, insurance companies do not cover the cost of the procedure as a general rule. Patients with underlying medical conditions or uncomfortable symptoms may qualify for some insurance coverage.