So How Quick is Varicose Vein Treatment Recovery, Really?
Recovery from varicose vein treatment is relatively quick, but there are still some guidelines you need to follow to ensure you heal properly.
If you keep up with the British tabloids, you may have read the recent report about British radio personality Chris Evans’s varicose vein surgery. In a bold and unconventional move, Evans filmed his doctor performing an ambulatory phlebectomy to remove his varicose veins. As the doctor calmly pulls out the vein, a wide-awake Evans jokes with the doctor and nurses throughout the brief procedure. Pictures later reveal Evans jogging to the nearest pub for a pint of English bitter beer about an hour after surgery.
While that video is certainly a testament to the painless and minimally-invasive nature of varicose vein surgery, you probably shouldn’t make Evans your varicose vein recovery role model. Though it’s true today’s varicose vein treatments have an extremely short recovery time, you’re still undergoing a surgical procedure that demands you carefully tend to your legs after the surgery — and that may mean waiting more than an hour before you run down to the nearest pub for your favorite ale.
Recovery from Varicose Vein Treatment
Your recovery from varicose vein treatment depends on the procedure you have. As Evans’s doctor explains, the radio personality’s varicose veins were so big they needed to be eliminated with a phlebectomy, a procedure during which a doctor makes small incisions through which the vein is removed. If your varicose veins aren’t as severe, you may instead undergo radio frequency or laser ablation and sclerotherapy.
Radio frequency or laser ablation zaps the damaged vein with a laser or radiofrequency heat to seal the vein shut. Sclerotherapy works on the same principle, but a substance known as a sclerosant is injected into the vein to collapse it.
Regardless of procedure, four general guidelines to recovery remain the same. (Sadly, none include an immediate trip to the pub after the surgery.)
- Keep the Wound Clean and Dry. For about two days after the surgery, you should avoid soaking your leg. Instead, maintain a clean, dry wound to prevent infection. Also, elevate your legs whenever possible. This will keep blood flowing from the legs back to the heart. Wearing compression stockings for at least two days after the surgery will also help.
- Walk, But Don’t Run. You can start walking 30 minutes after the surgery. Walking daily pumps blood through your healthy veins and cuts down on the slight chance of developing a blood clot. On the other hand, running and cycling may force blood back into the treated vein because of the added pressure, undoing the treatment.
- No Heavy Lifting or Strenuous Exercise for Two Weeks. As with running and cycling, lifting objects heavier than 20 pounds and strenuous workouts could cause the treatment to fail. Vigorous exercise right after the surgery may squeeze the sclerosant agent out of the vein, rendering it unable to seal off the damaged vein. Before ramping up your exercise program, check with your doctor first. He or she may want to do an ultrasound to ensure the treatment has been successful before giving you the go-ahead to work out.
- Avoid Alcohol for 48 Hours. Varicose vein treatments like the ones described here are done on an outpatient basis and require little to no anesthesia. If you do receive anesthesia, it will probably be a local anesthetic. Nevertheless, you should avoid drinking alcohol for 48 hours and not copy Chris Evans’s post-op pub trip.
Let Us Treat Your Varicose Veins
At the Center for Vein Restoration, we offer several varicose vein treatment options. We’ll discuss which one is right for you, and detail the surgery and your recovery plan. Working together, we can safely and effectively eliminate your varicose veins. Contact us today for an appointment.