Your Care at Home After Varicose Vein Ligation and Stripping and/or Radiofrequency Ablation Dr. Schwarze, and Dr. Tefera
This handout will review your care at home. Your nurse will go over it with you. We hope it makes your return home go smoothly. If you have questions, please call.
What to Expect
You will have an elastic bandage (ace wrap) on your leg when you return from surgery. If the ace wrap feels too tight, you may loosen it slightly and rewrap it. Do not disturb the dressings. The ace wrap should be wrapped snugly so you feel support to the leg, but not so tight that it causes swelling or pain in the foot. Wrap the ace snugly starting at the toe and going to the mid-thigh.
What to Do
For the first 2 days, the dressing should be kept dry. You may want to take a sponge bath. After 2 days, remove the ace wrap and dressings. You may then shower briefly, but do not soak or scrub the incisions for 5-7 days. After your shower, you should rewrap the ace wraps. They should be wrapped snugly from toe crease to mid-thigh. Wear ace wraps during the day while up. Rewrap twice a day to keep snug. You may remove the ace wrap at bedtime to sleep. When the swelling has decreased and the legs are not too tender, wear graded compression stockings daily when up.
To reduce swelling, keep your leg(s) raised as much as you can for the first 48 hours. The first evening, it is best to rest and not get up and around too much. This will help reduce swelling and pain. After 48 hours, you may resume your normal routine, but avoid prolonged standing or sitting with your feet in a dependent position.
There may be bruising and small vein pieces that form tender lumps. You may apply warm, moist compresses for pain and take ibuprofen as needed. Call your doctor if the tenderness moves up your thigh. You will be given a prescription pills for pain relief. If you are having severe pain that is not controlled by rest, elevation, and pain pills, call your doctor.
You should not drive for 3 to 5 days or while you are taking prescription pain pills.
Return to Clinic
You will return to the Peripheral Vascular Surgery (PVS) clinic within the week to have your stitches removed. You may also have an ultrasound of the leg.
When to Call Your Doctor
After the first 3 days, you should look at your incisions daily for signs of infection. Call if you notice:
- Red and/or warm incision site.
- Foul smelling or pus-like drainage (green or yellow).
- Temperature over 100.4°F for two readings taken 4 hours apart.
- Increased swelling, firmness or tenderness around the incisions.
- An opening in the incision.
- Severe pain.
- Changes in the circulation of your leg – unusual coolness, swelling, pale or blue color, numbness, or tingling.
Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm call the Peripheral Vascular Clinic at UW Health West Clinic at (608) 263-8915.
After hours, weekends and holidays, this number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the PVS (Peripheral Vascular Clinic) doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/05/2010
Copyright © 10/05/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5374
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