Getting a vein procedure to improve the state of your varicose veins is a safe and normal process, but it’s important to know what to expect afterwards.
Imagine this scenario: you go see a doctor about some pain in your legs and you find out you have varicose veins. After some time struggling with the discomfort, you decide to do something about it. Making the decision to undergo a medical vein procedure is not an easy one, but with the right preparation and knowledge, your recovery will be a breeze. Here’s what you should expect after your vein procedure from the moment you leave the doctor’s office.
Firstly, you’ll be relieved to know that the recovery process shouldn’t require much a change to your normal lifestyle and daily routine. However, it’s encouraged that you take it easy for the first 48 hours, since that’s the time period during which discomfort is most commonly reported. An ace bandage should remain on the treated area for the first 24 hours as well, but may be removed after that.
7-10 Days Post-Procedure
Though most people can resume everyday activities after a vein procedure, for those who lead a rigorously active life, the rules will be a little different for the first week or so. Wait 7-10 days before fully diving back into your workout routine or lifting anything heavier than 20 pounds. This doesn’t mean you have to abstain from exercise entirely, as it’s actually recommended that you do lower-impact fitness activities during the healing process, like walking or using a treadmill on a low setting. That said, avoid running, weight lifting that specifically puts strain on the upper or lower limbs, and other high-impact workouts.
If you regularly take baths, this is another thing you’ll have to briefly put on hold. Soaking in any body of water — bath, hot tub, pool, etc. — should be avoided for the 7-10 days after your procedure so as to ensure that you don’t develop an infection in the area.
Pain, Swelling, and Other Possible Side Effects
Since you just underwent a medical procedure, don’t expect to feel exactly the same as you did before it happened. You’ll most likely feel and see inflammation, redness, and warmth on and around the treated areas. It’s also common to feel a tightness along the treated vein, since it’s just been operated on and hasn’t yet returned to its full level of flexibility.
If you’re experiencing pain, we recommend taking ibuprofen rather than Tylenol — 400 mg every six-to-eight hours. If you cannot process ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs, Tylenol is fine when taken in doses no greater than 500 mg every 12 hours.
You may also experience a feeling of knotting in the veins where blood may pool and get trapped, making the skin tender and warm to the touch. This is a normal symptom to feel during the first week or so, and it’s encouraged that you apply a warm compress and regularly massage the area to relieve discomfort and promote the healing process.
While this procedure can be exceptionally effective in mitigating the uncomfortable side effects of varicose veins, you may not have the legs of your dreams after just one treatment. A few spider veins may still linger (though this can be eliminated through additional treatment) and slight skin discoloration may occur. Any loss of sensation is normal, as it’s associated with procedure-induced nerve irritation, and will vanish over time.
One Month, Six Months, and Beyond
Your body will still be healing a month after your procedure, so you might experience some redness, inflammation, and tightness even 30 days afterwards. You’ll likely notice any uncomfortable sensations decrease considerably, but it’s still recommended you massage the area regularly. Any other findings will be discussed during the follow-up exam that your doctor should schedule with you four weeks after the procedure.
At the six-month point and beyond, you should be clear of almost all physical symptoms associated with the procedure. If any of these symptoms have worsened, make another appointment with your doctor. Even if everything is fine, it’s recommended you head in for a six-month check-up, as venous insufficiency is a chronic condition and new issues could spring up in the time since your last treatment.
If your post-procedure experience doesn’t unfold exactly like we’ve laid out here, fret not. Every human body is different, meaning everyone will cope differently with the treatment and healing processes. If you’re concerned that you may be reacting negatively to your vein procedure or have any other specific questions about what to expect, don’t hesitate to contact a doctor or vein specialist.