After your operation

DAY 1 : In the morning your dressings will be attended to by the nursing staff in hospital. This needs to be done before you get out of bed as even standing for a couple of minutes to use the toilet can lead to swelling in the leg and make fitting the stocking painful for you and difficult for the nursing staff. The bandages are removed and your legs washed and dried carefully. Adhesive paper strips are applied to the stab incisions and the suture line will be redressed with a sterile dressing. Your legs are re-bandaged if there is continuing ooze and firm class 2 graduated compression stockings are fitted over the bandages. If there is no ooze the stocking can go directly onto the leg.

You would have noticed some bruising, especially in the thigh, at this time. Do not be alarmed as this will fade and disappear over the next few weeks. The bandages, dressings and stocking should remain untouched until Day 3 (Monday if operation on Friday), unless they become loose or uncomfortable. You will be encouraged to continue the foot exercises regularly. You can go home and rest after the legs have been checked and bandaged, so arrange for someone to drive you home beforehand. At home, remain resting with your legs elevated. Short walks are encouraged, but do not overdo it. This means NO housework or prolonged standing.

As a dissolving suture was used to close the incisions you should remove the outer wound dressing (pad) on day 3 and leave only the adhesive paper strips in place till they fall off on their own or remove on day 7.

DAY 2: The bandages and stockings are to be worn continuously day and night for the first 2 days after you leave hospital. It may be necessary to reapply the bandages if they become loose or are uncomfortable. This should be attended to prior to standing, ensuring the stockings are fitted properly.

Gradual mobilization by doing some chores and looking after yourself is possible. Rest with your feet elevated at all times. If your legs ache, you are overdoing it.

DAY 3 – 7: On Day 3 you are able to shower. The stockings and bandages can be removed and the dressings (adhesive pad on groin or knee wound) can be taken off in the shower. Care should be taken not to disturb the adhesive paper strips where possible. Carefully pat your legs and wound area dry and reapply the stockings, ensuring they are fitted properly. Instructions for this are given in hospital. You are not required to wear the bandages any longer but must continue to wear your stockings during the day. Please reapply your stockings immediately when you get out of bed in the morning and/or following your shower as they will be more difficult to reapply if you have walked or stood for any period of time without them.

If you notice any ooze, redness, swelling from the wound you should visit your doctor to exclude an infection. He will give you a course of antibiotics and contact Dr Bray if he is concerned.

Gradually increase your walking; ensuring comfortable lace-up shoes are worn. Walk slowly and normally, do not shuffle. Aim to walk 100-200 metres at a time by the end of the first week. Continue to take things easy in the first week. All paper strips that have not fallen off on their own during or after showering can be removed by day 7. Don’t worry if they fall off beforehand as long as the wound is not open. If any part of the wound opens you should visit your doctor who will contact Dr Bray if needed.

NOTE: It is normal to have some bruising, redness and tenderness along the inside of the thigh when the long saphenous vein is stripped.

2ND WEEK

Continue to wear the stockings during the day, applying them before you stand or walk around, and elevate your legs when resting. Your walking should be much improved and the distance increased. You can be your own judge as basically you can’t do any harm. If you overdo things then the legs will ache more. You can stop wearing the stocking when you prefer – usually after 2 weeks is quite sufficient.

NOTE: Where the varicose veins have been removed, the area can remain tender and lumpy for 2-4 months. This is quite normal and is not cause for concern.