Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with board certified dermatologist, Dr. Hema Sundaram about spider veins and varicose veins, a disease which plagues both men and women alike and her take on the newest treatment, Asclera which is proving to be effective in the treatment of this condition.
Candace Rose: What are spider veins and varicose veins?
Dr. Hema Sundaram: “Spider veins are a type of varicose vein and they are a small blue or red thread like type of vein that we commonly see appearing on our legs and they can really have a profound effect on patients self-esteem and self-confidence and for that reason women as well as the men who tend to develop them get very embarrassed about showing their legs in public. I hear patients who tell me they don’t want to wear swimsuits or shorts or short skirts.”
CR: What causes them and who is at risk?
HS: “Well, there are some hereditary factors and also hormonal factors such as being pregnant or being on the pill can predispose us to developing spider veins, also if your circulation tends to stagnate or sit still. For instance if you’re sitting at a desk all day or you’re standing still more than walking around, that can make you more likely to get spider veins.”
CR: You mentioned pregnancy as being a risk factor; my mom has said that she never had them until giving birth. Is this fairly common?
HS: “That’s common for many women, that they may develop them after they’ve had a child or during pregnancy but it’s also equally common for women and sometimes men to develop them earlier on in life. I see patients even in their twenties who’ve never had babies who are very embarrassed by their spider veins.”
CR: Are spider and varicose veins preventable?
HS: “We can potentially prevent them, Candace so we can decrease the risk of developing them. Sometimes by wearing support hose or by taking measures to keep the circulation going, so if you’re sitting at your desk all day long, get up and walk around for two to three minutes every hour. And rather than standing still make sure you walk around for a few minutes every hour.”
CR: What treatments are available for spider and varicose veins?
HS: “Well, the newest treatment which is very exciting to the medical community is Asclera. It’s a treatment which is extremely safe and effective. In studies 86% of patients said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment and it’s completely non-surgical; a tiny needle is inserted gently into the unwanted vein and the Asclera is injected and the Asclera causes the vein to close down permanently and form itself into a harmless cord of fibrous tissue.”
CR: What’s the recovery time like?
HS: “Well, the great thing is since it’s totally non-surgical, Candace there is no recovery. You can perform the treatment even during a lunch break. Treatment will take 15 to 30 minutes on average and you can go back to all your normal daily activities afterwards. You may be advised to wear support hose but these days those are pretty aesthetically appealing and we can wear the support hose under our normal clothing.”
CR: What about the cost?
HS: “The cost tends to vary, Candace depending on how extensive your treatment is but in general it will be $200 – $600 per session. I find that many patients only need one treatment session to get rid of the veins. Some will need more than one.”
CR: Does insurance ever cover the cost or is it typically out-of-pocket?
HS: “Candace, as a general rule, insurance will not cover the cost of a procedure which is cosmetic but I just wanted to let you know one of my patients recently said that she’d rather spent her money on treating her leg veins than on a vacation because her legs are with her for the rest of her life. What I’ve found with patients in general, they really appreciate the improvement in quality of life and the improvement in their self-confidence and they feel that the Asclera treatment is well worth it.”
CR: Do you have any additional information you’d like to share with us?
HS: “Well, for anyone who wants further information and also wants to find a physician in their area who can perform the Asclera treatment, I would recommend going to the website Asclera.com and you can get information there.”