To be expected:
- You will be required to wear a compression stocking for 5 weeks after surgery, for 2 weeks after a sclerotherapy procedure.
- You will need 1-2 weeks of time off work.
- You will not be able to drive in the initial days after surgery.
- It is recommended to avoid flights for 6 weeks after surgery.
- Some discomfort in the leg within the first week after treatment: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed depending on the procedure and you medical history.
- Bruising in the leg: usually this takes several weeks to resolve.
- Lumpiness under the skin where veins have been removed: as treated veins shrink and turn to scar tissue, this hardness or lumpiness gradually disappears but it usually takes 1-2 months to resolve completely.
Risks of Treatment:
- Recurrent varicose veins developing in the years after the initial procedure. The literature quotes up to 70% recurrence rates at 10 years following the classic stripping and ligation procedure.
- Pain or discomfort persisting beyond the first week after treatment.
- Some minor numbness in the skin particularly around the ankle or inner leg, this usually resolves completely.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): potentially the most serious complication of varicose veins treatment the risk is approximately 1%. A post operative DVT may cause leg swelling which in some cases can become a long term problem. Blood thinning medication will usually be required for 3 months if a DVT is diagnosed.
- Pulmonary embolus (PE): Of patients who develop DVT some will present with or be diagnosed with a pulmonary embolus which is caused by clot travelling to the lung from the leg. This may cause breathing difficulties or heart strain or in rare cases may be fatal. Blood thinning medication will be recommended for 3-6 months.
- Skin numbness, hypersensitivity or pain: Although relatively common in the initial days and weeks following surgery, in very rare cases, skin numbness, hypersensitivity or localised pain can become a long term problem.
- Skin Staining: Yellow brown skin discolouration may occur, particularly after sclerotherapy treatment, in up to 5% of patients. Usually this fades completely, but in <0.5% of patients can leave a long lasting mark.