If you plan on having surgery for varicose veins, you are probably wondering what the experience will be like after the treatment. The truth is that outcomes vary based on how well you adhere to your after-surgery instructions. Here are the top 20 tips for ensuring the best possible outcome after your varicose vein surgery.
You need to take it very easy for at least 7 days. This will help you avoid bruising, excessive bleeding, and pain. Sleep aids in recovery too, so get your rest.
- Increase Activity Slowly
Don’t rush into exercise after your surgery. Take it slow to make sure that incisions don’t open up and that blood flow returns to normal.
- Bathing Is a No-No
There is no showering or bathing, at all, for at least two days after your surgery. You can take a sponge bath, as long as you avoid the incisions. You cannot bathe for at least two weeks following vein surgery.
- Eat Fiber
Surgery can affect your bowel function. If you eat a high-fiber diet right after your procedure, your bowel movements will return to normal sooner.
- Leave the Tape
Doctors often place tape over incisions in vascular surgery. Leave it there for at least one week. If it falls off on its own, that’s okay.
- Ice It
Ice can go a long way to reducing pain, swelling, and bruising. Ice your incisions for 10-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
- Elevate Your Legs
Keep the blood flowing to your heart by keeping your legs elevated. This takes pressure off of your veins and allows them to heal faster.
- Ask About Sleep
Sleeping can be tough right after vein surgery. Talk to your doctor about home remedies, over-the-counter drugs, and prescription medications for sleep. Have them ready before you get home from surgery.
- The Pain Gets Worse Before Getting Better
Most people say that the pain of vein surgery peaks on days 8-10 and then gets better. By day 14, your pain should be minimal.
- Expect Bruising
Bruising after vein surgery is common. Your legs might be black, blue, or even green. The bruises should go away over two or three weeks.
- Eat What You Want
There are no restrictions on what you can eat after vein surgery. Eat what makes you feel good and drink plenty of fluids. Low-fat foods are usually best for upset stomachs (https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=ud2024).
- Question Blood Thinners
Most medications can be started again after varicose vein surgery, but blood thinners (e.g. aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin) may cause problems. Talk to you doctor about restarting these drugs as the risks and benefits differ from one person to the next.
- Wear the Compression Stockings
Most people don’t like the feel of compression stockings, but they can speed recovery after vein surgery and minimize scarring. Do your best to wear these stockings for at least two weeks after your surgery.
- Walk for 10 Minutes Every Day
After the first two days of rest following varicose vein surgery, try to get at least 10 minutes of walking in every day for two weeks. This can really speed the healing process (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/cardiovascular/laser_varicose_vein_surgery_135,28/).
- Check Your Incisions
Infections are rare, but they can occasionally happen after varicose vein surgery. Check your incisions at least once every day to look for redness, swelling, pus, and other signs of infection.
Don’t sit or stand for too long in the first 1-2 months after your surgery. Keep your legs elevated to promote healing and give your vasculature time to reestablish blood flow.
- Time Off
Most people need just two weeks off after vein surgery. If your job requires a lot of sitting or standing (e.g. driving trucks), then you may need 4-6 weeks off to ensure full recovery.
- Never Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is great for killing bacteria, but it can really slow wound healing. Once you are given the okay to clean your wounds at home, do so with soap and water. Never use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean a surgical incision.
- Don’t Drive
Wait at least two days to drive after vein surgery. Not only do you risk reopening incisions while driving, you won’t have normal reaction times either.
- Be Patient
It can take up to a year to fully recover after vein surgery. Be patient with the process and talk to your doctor if you have concerns.