What to expect after your varicose vein treatment and what you can do to speed up your recovery

The Day of Your Treatment

  • Your procedure has been performed under local anaethetic and when you go home you will be comfortable. The local anaesthetic usually lasts for 12-18 hours before it wears off. When the local anaesthetic wears off you may wish to take regular pain relief for a day or two.
  • Check your leg(s) from time to time in the hours after treatment. Sometimes the local anaesthetic solution used leaks into the bandaging and pale pink staining appears on the stocking; please do not be alarmed, this is not a cause for concern.
  • In the very unlikely event that there is blood (dark red rather than pale pink) penetration through the bandaging and stocking, do not disturb the stocking and bandaging. Fold a clean tea towel or similar into a firm pad and apply to the bleeding area on top of the stocking. Secure this firmly with some sticky tape, or a bandage. Elevate the leg for minimum of one hour. 
  • On the day of your treatment and for the next 2 days, keep well hydrated and do regular ankle movements to encourage the blood flow in the deep veins. DVT is extremely rare after modern vein treatments under local anaesthetic but it is important to drink plenty and keep moving. Avoid standing still on the day of your treatment. Either walk about or rest with your legs elevated.

The Next Day

  • The local anaesthetic begins to wear off and your leg might feel quite uncomfortable
  • Your may begin to notice some swelling and bruising in your groin
  • The day after your procedure, you can do everything as normally as the bandages and stocking allow. Walk as much as possible. Walking encourages the healing process and promotes the vein circulation in the legs. You really can’t do too much walking in the first week or two. Aim to walk for at least 10 minutes three times a day as a mininum.
  • We advise that you keep the bandage and stocking in place for 48 hours.
  • However, if at any time the bandage feels tight, you can take it off immediately.  After taking the bandage off, if you still feel uncomfortable or if your foot swells or if you have tingling in your toes after the local anaesthetic wears off, remove the stocking completely.

Two Days After Your Treatment | The Bandages Come Off

After 48 hours you may remove the bandage, stocking and wool completely if you have not already done so, and it will probably be easier to do this with the help of a partner or friend. Here is some guidance for that person to follow:
 
1.     Wash your hands with soap and water.
2.     You should sit down and elevate your leg,  supported by, for example, a chair.
3.     Remove the outside bandage.  Pull off the stocking. Unwind the soft wool to reveal sticking plasters (Don’t be alarmed if these old plasters are blood-stained.)
4.     Throw away the bandages but keep the stocking for future appointments. 
5.     Leave the sticky plasters in place and have a warm shower as normal. Have the supply of new plasters nearby. Use a fresh towel to pat your the leg dry, and then gently peel off the old plasters. Pat the skin dry again, and now put new adhesive dressings over the little nicks if they do not appear dried.
6.     If you decide to reapply the stocking, it is easier to do this if a strong plastic bag is placed over the foot to allow the stocking to slide over the foot and ankle. The bag can be removed by pulling it through the open toe of the stocking. Keep the stocking free of wrinkles and pinches, which would be uncomfortable and might impede circulation

The First Week After Your Treatment

  • When you take off the bandages, please do not be alarmed if there is a lot of bruising (some people bruise a lot, some hardly at all). Bruising will settle quickly over the next few days. In addition, some areas may be a little lumpy and tender. This is all part of the healing process and lumpy areas will gradually disperse over the next few weeks.
  • Sometimes, the skin overlying the veins that have been treated by laser becomes very sensitive and a little red a few days after the treatment. If this happens, you may be surprised because you didn’t experience this straightaway. Once again, this is all part of the healing process which leads to the vein being successfully absorbed by your body. This may start 2-3 days after your treatment, reach a peak around a 7-10 days and then it will settle.
  • If you experience lumpiness, tenderness or sensitivity, try rubbing an anti-inflammatory cream or gel such as Voltarol or Ibuprofen into the area (but please check with a pharmacist if you are unsure whether these are suitable for you). Some people also find Arnica cream soothing. 
  • When you take off the bandages, please do not be alarmed if there is a lot of bruising (some people bruise a lot, some hardly at all). Bruising will settle quickly over the next few days. In addition, some areas may be a little lumpy and tender. This is all part of the healing process and lumpy areas will gradually disperse over the next few weeks.
  • Many people find it comfortable to wear the surgical stocking in the daytime for another week or two. However, if you feel more comfortable without the stocking, leave it off. 

The First 2-3 Months After Treatment

  • After the first week, your leg will begin to look and feel better. Lumpy and tender areas will gradually begin to get smaller and should disperse.
  • Bruising will begin to come to the surface and then undergo the colour changes of healing. 
  • You may notice small patches of numbness, tingling or sensitivity. These usually resolve but may take up to a year to do so completely.
  • Broken veins may appear. These are usually temporary and fade over the course of the next 6-12 months.

Will I Have Stitches?

There are no stitches after Endovenous Treatments for Veins. There are little pricks in the skin which may “ooze” for a day or two. These are covered with plaster until they dry up.

These pin pricks in the skin may look like red dots on your leg for up to 6 months before they fade. Once they are completely healed, they can be very difficult to see.

Should I Have a Bath or a Shower after Vein Treatment?

It is probably preferrable to have a quick shower in the first 2 weeks after your vein treatment. If you don’t have a shower, have brief dunk in a bath.  Pat your leg dry rather than rubbing it vigourously. Once the little pricks in the skin have dried up completely and healed over, then you can have a long soak in the bath if that is what you really like.

Driving After Vein Treatment

From a medical point of view, you can drive when you feel able to perform an emergency stop. This is usually 48 hours after your treatment when your bandages are removed.  Some people need a bit longer before they feel confident to drive. Do check with your motor insurance company, and don’t drive if you feel uncomfortable. If you are taking painkillers please check with a pharmacist whether it is safe for you to drive. 

Gym and Exercise After Vein Treatment

  • You can resume gentle exercise when your leg(s) feel comfortable. We generally advise avoiding contact sports where your leg(s) is/are likely to be knocked for about fourteen days after treatment.  
  • There are often harsh chemicals in swimming pools, so it may be a wise precaution to avoid swimming for fourteen days as well.

Flying After Vein Treatment

Many people ask about flying after their vein treatment, and the concern of deep vein thrombosis.  Fortunately, complications after modern vein treatments are very rare. However, long-haul flights are a known risk factor and it is a wise precaution to avoid taking a long flight for a month afterwards, although there isn’t tany strong evidence in the medical literature to back up this recommendation.

Getting Back to Work

Most people need a week off work. Some get back to work sooner, some need longer. How quickly you can get back to work depends on the nature of your job and how you get to work. Individualised advice should be discussed at your consultation.

Please check with your employer which sickness note they require. It is usually fine to self-certificate for up to seven days but if you are off work for a longer period you will need to see your GP for a certificate. We are very sorry, we cannot supply certificates.

Cause for Concern

  • Tenderness and lumpy areas along the course of the treated vein are quite normal. You may also experience tingling, stinging or irritation along the course of the veins treated. However if you develop a raised temperature or if you feel generally unwell, it is possible that you may have an infection.
  • If the stocking feels uncomfortable,  if your foot swells or if you have tingling in your toes after the local anaesthetic wears off, remove the stocking completely.
  • If your calf becomes very  swollen or you find it painful to put your leg to the ground, it is possible that you have a DVT.
  • If you develop chest pains or shortness of breath, call 999 or go straight to your local hospital.  
 
Members of The VeinCare Centre team may not be available out of normal office hours, however we will always do our best to help you if at all possible. If you have concerns and we cannot be contacted, please use the NHS Out of Hours service.

7 Tips for Your Recovery After Vein Treatment

  1. Keep hydrated and drink plenty
  2. Keep moving, walk regularly and do circular ankle movements to keep blood flowing. Aim to walk for at least 10 minutes three times a day as a mininum.Take occasional deep breaths
  3. Avoid standing still for long periods
  4. Consider elevating your legs 
  5. Consider wearing compression hosiery
  6. Even modern treatments such as Endovenous Laser are not painless or completely free of complications. However, if you develop a temperature, a swollen tender calf or if you suffer chest pains, seek urgent advice
  7. Do not throw away your stockings and please bring them to all your appointments