Your Guide to Varicose Veins Treatment Aftercare

doctor writing something down while patient is smiling

Table of Contents

  • The First Two Weeks After Treatment
  • Side Effects of Vein Ablation
  • Things to Avoid After Vein Ablation
  • Aftercare for Vein Ablation
  • One Month After Treatment
  • Six Months After Treatment
  • If You Need Further Care

It will take time to heal from your varicose vein treatment. Aftercare is critical to a healthy recovery, too. You must take care of yourself in the coming weeks and months to heal properly and minimize side effects. 
 

The First Two Weeks After Treatment

You will most likely be able to go back to your normal routine the same day. However, even if you follow everything your vein specialist tells you to do, you may experience side effects from your varicose vein removal. Aftercare at this stage can include wearing compression stockings and refraining from some physical activities.

Side Effects of Vein Ablation

Mild to moderate pain and swelling are normal after a varicose vein ablation. You may experience some of the following symptoms, especially in the first couple of weeks.

Discomfort

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help with the pain. If you cannot take NSAIDs, acetaminophen is a good alternative. Call your vein specialist if you have severe discomfort even after taking pain relievers.

Bruising

Considerable bruising is common after varicose vein removal. It may run all along the course of the treated vein and be extensive in the thigh. Bruising typically fades away within two weeks.  

Skin Discoloration

If the treated vein was close to the surface of the skin, you may see some discoloration. It will gradually lighten but may take several months to disappear completely. 

Tightness or Pulling

Treatment causes the vein to shrink and become scar tissue, which is less flexible. The change can create a sensation of tightness or make it feel like something is pulling in your leg. The feeling often starts a week to a month after treatment. It will fade away during the healing process.

Inflammation

The body sometimes has an inflammatory response within a week of the procedure. Part of your leg may become red, swollen, and warm or tender to the touch. This is normal and will often resolve on its own. However, call your vein specialist if you also have a fever or severe pain.

Bleeding

Very rarely, there can be some bleeding through the bandages. If this happens, lie down and elevate your leg above the level of your heart. Apply direct pressure. Call your vein specialist if the bleeding does not stop.

Numbness

Varicose vein ablation can irritate the area that was treated and cause a temporary loss of sensation. This is more common if the treated vein is near the shin bone or ankle. The numbness will gradually disappear over time.

Things to Avoid After Vein Ablation

You will probably be able to return to most of your normal activities immediately, but aftercare for varicose veins should include taking it easy for a while.

The risk of infection from varicose vein ablation is extremely low. Aftercare, however, will also involve avoiding some activities to lower the risk even further. 

Vigorous Exercise

Refrain from strenuous activities for up to two weeks after your varicose vein ablation. This includes workouts like biking, tennis, and aerobic classes. Weight-bearing exercise — anything that puts extra force on your legs — can cause the treated vein to reopen. Give your body time to heal before returning to running, jumping, or sports. 

Heavy Lifting

Avoid carrying heavy objects for about two weeks after your treatment. Check with your vein specialist about their definition of “heavy.” The answer may be anywhere from 10–30 pounds.

Prolonged Sitting or Standing

If you must sit for more than three hours, stand up and move around at least once an hour. Ask your doctor about taking baby aspirin.

Heat

For two weeks after your vein treatment, you should avoid soaking your legs in warm baths and pools. Showering is okay once you can remove your bandage — usually 24–48 hours after your procedure — but make sure your shower isn’t too hot.

Extreme heat can cause vein engorgement. Hold off on heat therapies such as hot tubs, saunas, or steam rooms for at least a week or two after your procedure.

Air Travel

The change in pressure on an airplane can engorge your veins and increase your risk of blood clots. If you must fly within a month after varicose vein ablation, elevate your feet as much as possible and get up to walk at least once an hour.

Aftercare for Vein Ablation

Below are some proactive steps you can take to speed up your recovery.

Follow-up Appointments

Schedule your follow-up ultrasound within two weeks of your procedure or sooner. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments, even if you feel great.

Compression Stockings

For all treatments except VenaSeal, your vein specialist will require you to wear compression stockings for several days, but feel free to wear them longer. They minimize swelling, improve blood flow, and help with your recovery.

Walking 

Walk three times a day for 10–20 minutes each time. Walking gets your blood flowing and helps prevent swelling and blood clots.

Stretching 

Add gentle stretching to your routine a couple of times a day, perhaps when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

Rest

Rest is important to the healing process. Take it easy, especially during the first week. Relax on the couch or your bed with your feet on a pillow. Make sure to get 7–9 hours of sleep a night to help your body recover.

Elevating Your Legs

Put up your feet whenever you are seated. Elevating your legs promotes healing by increasing blood flow and taking pressure off your veins. It can also help relieve swelling or engorged veins. 

One Month After Treatment

You will still be healing at this point. Symptoms such as swelling may still be present but will continue to decrease. Around this time, you may be scheduled for another ultrasound. Your vein specialist will explain the results of the scan and help you decide if further treatments would be beneficial.

Six Months After Treatment

Any side effects from the vein ablation will probably have disappeared or decreased significantly. If symptoms worsen or new symptoms appear, make an appointment with your vein specialist. 

If You Need Further Care

Still not sure if your aftercare for vein ablation is comprehensive enough? A vein specialist can assist you with any post-treatment needs or provide further treatments in the future. 

Find a specialist in your area with My Vein Treatment’s vein specialist locator — a searchable and comprehensive directory of vein specialists across the United States.   

Find a vein specialist