September 23, 2021
If you’re considering varicose vein surgery, you probably have some big questions on your mind. Many of the concerns raised by patients are regarding the aftercare and the postoperative process - namely, how long recovery will take and what they should be doing and avoiding in the days, weeks and months following surgery.
Taking the decision to get your varicose veins removed can be daunting, but it’s also a huge step towards improving your vein health and quality of life. To help put your mind at ease, we’ve put together some simple answers to our most frequently asked questions.
How long will I need to wear my compression stockings?
Patients should keep their bandages and compression stockings on for 48 hours following the procedure. After this, they can be removed and the patient can gently bathe their legs. Compression stockings should then be worn during the day for the next two weeks.
Can I take painkillers after the surgery?
If you experience any pain or aching you can take paracetamol to ease it. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage of two tablets every 4 hours. Keeping your compression stockings on during the day and elevating your legs in the evenings will also help promote blood circulation and ease discomfort.
When will I be able to return to work?
This will depend on the nature of your job and how soon you feel comfortable going back. Some people are happy to return to their job the next day, while others feel more comfortable taking a few days off to recover. If your job involves manual labour, standing for hours at a time or long drives, then we recommend taking at least a couple of weeks off. Make sure you talk to your employer beforehand so that you can both be prepared.
How long will it take to fully recover?
In terms of any discomfort you might experience, most people feel back to normal after a few days. Visually speaking, you should see the full results after about two months. Again, it’s important to bear in mind that this is a very individual experience and the recovery process can take more or less time depending on the person and the severity of the symptoms before surgery.
What is Thrombophlebitis?
Thrombophlebitis is the inflammation of the veins. During surgery, the varicose veins being treated are purposefully inflamed to then block them off and prevent further symptoms.
In some rare cases, this can result in the veins becoming too inflamed. If this should occur, the symptoms will become apparent within two weeks post-surgery and can take a few weeks to disappear.
Although this can be painful and annoying if it does occur, it isn’t as serious as it might look. The swelling can easily be treated using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen. As always, we recommend checking with your GP before taking any drugs (even over-the-counter medications).
What should I look out for after treatment?
The greatest risk in varicose vein treatment is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), when a blood clot forms in your veins. While it’s very rare for this to happen following treatment, do bear in mind that this is one of the reasons it’s so important to choose wisely when it comes to where you get your treatment. At UK Vein Clinic, our surgical team is composed of top specialists in the field, so you’re in safe hands.
Following surgery, though, don’t be afraid to trust your instincts; if you experience any sudden or significant symptoms like discolouration of the treated area, intense pain or extreme swelling, then please seek medical attention immediately.
Can I exercise after varicose vein treatment?
While we recommend that you get back on your feet as soon as you feel comfortable, we do suggest taking it easy for two weeks following your treatment. Regular, short walks are the best form of exercise while you’re still recovering. You should also avoid swimming or taking baths until your wounds have fully recovered.
After two weeks, if you’re feeling comfortable, you can slowly build up to more intense exercise.
Is there anything else I should avoid?
Please try to avoid remaining stationary for long periods of time as this can increase the chances of DVT. Similarly, you should avoid alcohol for the first 48 hours after surgery as this can also be a risk factor in the formation of a blood clot. More generally, listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
We hope that this has been a useful guide and gone some way to help alleviate any doubts or worries you might have concerning the aftercare process. Our team at UK Vein Clinic is always at hand and more than happy to advise you on the process and assess your individual needs. If you still have any unanswered questions, you can contact us here.