What to Expect After Saphenous Vein Ablation
After a vein ablation procedure, such as radiofrequency or laser ablation, it is normal for your leg to feel swollen. The swelling is the fluid that was placed around the vein called a tumescent anesthetic. You will feel the swelling in the location where the vein was treated. If the vein in the thigh was treated, your thigh will feel swollen. If the vein on the back of your calf was treated, the calf will feel swollen. The tumescent will slowly be absorbed by the evening or the next morning.
Applying gauze inside of your stocking
Sometimes, the tumescent will leak out from the tiny needle puncture sites. For this reason, we will apply gauze inside of your stocking. At night before going to bed, reach in and pull out the gauze and throw it away. It only takes one drop of blood to make the gauze look blood-tinged. This is also normal and nothing to worry about.
Before going to bed, remove the ace bandage that overlies your stocking. You will wear the stockings overnight (for 72 hours to be exact). If your stocking causes foot pain or leg pain, or numbness in the toes, please remove your stocking during the night and sleep without it. It may be too tight. Call us in the morning so we can further advise.
What to do when the leg feels sore and achy?
On the evening of the procedure, your leg may also feel sore and achy. When it starts to throb, get up and walk. This usually helps it to feel better. Ibuprofen or Tylenol are helpful to reduce discomfort. You can also apply ice, by placing ice in a zip lock bag and applying the cold to the sore areas on the leg. You do not need to sleep with your legs elevated, but may do so if this is more comfortable.
When you are sitting for longer periods, such as watching a movie at night, elevate your legs.
To avoid blood clots, walk frequently throughout the day. A rule of thumb is to walk at least 30 minutes, twice a day. There is no limit to walking. After your procedure, you will be asked to walk 30 minutes around campus prior to getting into your car. This will help get the blood circulating and stimulate the tumescent to be absorbed.