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Recovery from vein surgery... slow and painful

I've never been on a forum before, but thought it might be good to get other's experiences on vein surgery. Unfortunately both my parents had bad vericose veins and both had them stripped (both legs). Luckily for me, it wasn't until I had my son 14 yrs ago that mine started becoming a problem. Only on one leg and not nearly as unsightly as my parents had. However, still problematic, and ugly. I had my surgery in June 08, again fortunately for me, the surgeon is labelled as one of the best. However, 5 months on, I have found recovery to be very painful and slow. Unlike the last thread I read, I was not able to walk properly without pain and without wanting to faint until 3 weeks later. My appetite decreased significant, and panadol did not manage the pain well. I was bed ridden and nauseas, with postural hypertension because of lowering of blood pressure. Showering, my only 'feel good', was terribly traumatic. I passed out hitting my head on my stone tile flooring, still experiencing pain from possible cheak fracture, which my GP didn't diagnose properly or treat. Pain was unbearable for some time. I could not drive, am a mother recently separated with a huge mortgage and was unable to work for 3 weeks. This time unpaid. The stockings were distressing, (I had no support or home help) swelling and bruising horrendous. It wasn't until I saw my physio some 2 months later, she encouraged massage of incision points and exercise to stop scar tissue. Again, 5 months on, I feel deep tissue, nerve pain when I try to exercise. I feel the cold much more, and foot still turns purple at times. I am frustrated that I am unable to use my gym membership and at times feel depressed about the lenghth of recovery. This has been a long journey. I was hoping to learn how to surf with my boyfriend at New Years. But, I think I'll be saving that til 2010. Bumma sad

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  • Guest Guest

    Sorry you seem to be having a bad time of it, I've just had second leg done a month ago. It was much more bruised than the first one, and I have been feeling a bit faint if I stand too long, but have been back at work full time for a week now. My surgeon insists we have to get up post op and walk continuously for half an hour a day from the first day post op (beleive me you dont get far the first few days) as he beleives its the best thing to get the blood flowing the right way.

    My first leg was done in may and now has only faint scars, even the groin scar is vanishing fast, so trust me it does get better, you just seem to be taking a little longer.

    As for the evil stockings it sounds like you were given the wrong size as I had to leave mine on day and night for 3 days then could take it off at night, I had no problems removing it and replacing it in the morning. Are you still having follow up appointments?

  • Guest Guest

    :D Hello. I had my surgery done last Thursday 13th November 2008. It went well. It was my right leg. Had bandage removed on Friday and TED elastic stockings put on. I am very sore and bruised and am taking pain-killers for that. I am walking 2 miles a day and have to gradually build up to 3 miles a day.

    My stockings fall down to my ankles when I walk so when I get home the first bthing I have to do is pull them up. They are very tight once pulled up and stay up when I walk around the house. Has this happened to anyone else?

    Does anyone know how long the pain from the bruising will last? That is the worst area of pain.

    Instead of stitches, strips have been used over the wounds. Can anyone tell me how long they stay in place for please?

    I wish all users of this forum well and hopefully we will all be looking back on our surgery and painfree soon.

    Take care. Keep smiling!

    Pamela

  • Guest Guest

    I had EVLT surgery at the beginning of May, so about 6 weeks ago and I found the whole process really traumatic and it hurt like hell! I had EVLT on my right leg and a foam sclerotherapy injection in some veins on the back of my left knee.

    But I comforted myself with the thought that in a couple of months or so I’d have the flawless legs I’d dreamt about, not the ugly, veiny ones I had (at age 26 I don’t think it’s an unreasonable dream – they first started appearing at age just 14).

    The chaps-style stockings were terribly uncomfortable, digging in at the tops of the thighs so it was a relief to take them off after the 2 weeks. I was really upset when I took off the bandages to see that my legs looked mangled, but the bruising has gradually died down, although there still remains a brown one just above my knee, and the original bulging veins have not faded away one bit, which they say happens in about half of patients. They just don’t bulge as much. Where I had the foam injection it looks really dark green and pronounced and I can see quite a bit of skin staining starting to appear, but no sign of them disappearing, even after 6 weeks! At £400 a pop it looks like I’m going to have to remortgage my home to get rid of it completely.

    The worst thing, however, is that I’ve developed a huge, thick, long green vein that runs halfway down the length of my thigh where I had the EVLT which feels hot to the touch and I can just about feel the shape of it through my skin with my fingers when I stand up – I’m really worried that the EVLT has failed, even though I had the classic recovery signs of that taut feeling when you walk.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience, where veins that weren’t showing before have suddenly appeared? I’ve got my follow-up in a week and a half but am beside myself with worry that it’s failed and there’s a big new varicose vein forming on my thigh sad

  • 3littlebirds 3littlebirds

    Hi LG2323

    Did you recover from you EVLT? How long did it take? I hope you will write back.

    • margoroy margoroy 3littlebirds

      Had evlt 3/24. Had burning feeling and pain.Dr. said nerve damage. can take 12 mos.Now leg feels numb and tight.Burning at ankle.Leg looks no better. Hoping not permanent.Will not have ambulatory ablation to remove veins from leg.

    • SomeThingElse SomeThingElse 3littlebirds

      3LittleBirds, I had my procedure about 8 days ago, and I'm already recovered. There are 3 tiny incisions on my leg, that still have small scabs, and there is some bruising, but no discomfort, at all. For 3 or 4 days, there was some itching, but that has disappeared, and it's back to business as usual. However, I will wear my support hose constantly for a while to make sure there's no relapse! lol

  • RDUB58 RDUB58

    Hey guys,

    I'm glad I found this forum. I live in California (not that it matters) and have had this surgery twice.

    I'll start by saying that this surgery has always been easy to do. I barely feel a thing during the actual surgery.

    The recovery is where the fun stops. It has been very painful both times. I get major bruising and swelling oon my inner thigh. I barely can walk and the pain at times takes my breath away. I consider myself to having a high pain threshold. This is no joke. It makes me laugh to think that the little post-op info says "resume normal activity right away. I wish.

    Long story short, I share your company. It's tough. good luck all

    Ryan

    • margoroy margoroy RDUB58

      i hear you. EVLT 3 1/2 wks. ago. Burning, sticking pain ankle, calf,upper calf and thigh. Had ultrasound week later. Assure ok. Had 3 daughters natural childbirth. Pain horrific. Annoyed when they say minimally invasive procedure. They neglect to inform of aftermath. They want to perform ambulatory phlebotomy next. Going to dr. end of week. Leaning toward not having done.. Hope leg gets back to normal for both of us.

    • Myjody331 Myjody331 RDUB58

      lol I agree it was no way I could resume regular activities the same day. My veins was the worse the doctor have ever seen and I'm recovering good now but it's been a long process of 3 months

    • kalli11 kalli11 RDUB58

      The actual procedures (foam and laser of lower left calf) didn't hurt, the incisions (2 and the iV) hurt like hell. I had a high pain threshold at one time Went through procedure with no painkiller or medicine. It's been 8 hours I feel like my leg has been stabbed. I had a long ride home (3 hours) and had to walk every hour and that whole trip was excruiating. Trying  to sleep with legs elevated....I'm a side sleeper so it's very uncomfortable.

      They said I could resume normal activiities tomorrow (no lifitng, exercise, etc) but I could work--secretary. I can barely freaking walk. 

      I literally feel as if I've been stabbed in the calf, I hope it's worth it. I did the procedures because of pain, throbbing and inability to walk for long periods due to the vein(s)....I hope I can recover and at least get some REST.

    • willy278 willy278 kalli11

      I first had a "low-tie" (back of knee and 3 incisions lower down the calf/leg) back in 1978.

      I was in a military hospital and after a recovery night the next day I was told I had to walk 5 minutes in every hour while awake then rest with leg raised. The next day it was 10 minutes every hour. It didn't go over 15 minutes in every hour however, I was in recovery for 8 days before I was allowed to go back to my unit.

      When I had a "full-strip" at an NHS hospital in 1991 I was out within 2-3 days and just told to walk when I could -- a bit of a difference in recovery procedures but I think you should have been gently walking for at least a working week before going back full time.

      When I have the foam sclerotherapy I'm okay within hours of the procedure a hell of a difference and no pain at all.

      I think you should only walk in small amounts and get a stool/poof to raise your leg at work.

       

  • jules_pa jules_pa

    I had vein ligation and stripping on both legs done 13 days ago and am still struggling. I am still so bruised, especially inner thigh and struggle to walk. Standing still actually makes me want to vomit. So relieved to hear some stories of others having similar recovery......everything I found on the net tells you you'll be recovered after 2 weeks!! My doctor told me I would be able to get back to running after 2 weeks so it has been really upsetting not to be where I thought I would.

    Thanks for posting your stories, it's made me feel a little less hopeless.

  • Judyjane Judyjane

    Hi,

    I had my operation on the 27th March 2012. Varicose veins stripped from my right leg. The day prior to my op, I took 2 x Arnica (30c montana) tablets every four hours, then again every two hours after the op. for 2 days. also I have been massaging Arnica cream twice daily (around, not on the affected areas) I have no needed any painkillers and have had no bleeding, minimal swelling and bruising. Today, (4/4/2012) I removed all band-aids to give my cuts air to help with healing process. I'm walking around unaided by compression stockings and have continued to elevate my leg as much as possible. It is slightly uncomfortable when I initally get up (I'm guessing its caused from the blood flowing down) but it does ease of in a short time, once my circulation gets going. I do have questions I hope someone can help me with. 1. Is there a recommended amount of time I should be wearing the compression stocking, and why? 2. I have restricted movement in my calf muscle, it this normal? I'm slow and limping. All the best to all have had to go through this, I hope what I have shared helps soomebody.

    • sundara43747 sundara43747 Judyjane

      Hello

      It's nice to know you got recovered soon. My mother underwent a surgery today and she says it's very painful and she has burning sensation. She got the surgery done for both the legs together. She's taking pain killers now. What do you suggest for early recovery?

      And how long will the pain stay?

    • camesque camesque sundara43747

      On October 21, 2016 (13 days ago) I had vein stripping surgery using Trivex (transilluminated phlebectomy) under general anesthesia. I only took pain pills the first day - no pain since then. It was of course sensitive to pressure but no problem with pain interrupting sleeping. I spent most of the first week either laying on my back with my leg elevated or walking (slowly) on my treadmill or outside. After removing the elastic wraps the 4th day as instructed, I wore the support knee highs even at night the first week and all day since then. I also followed instructions and began massaging and pressing firmly on th areas right from the first day and continue to do so to ease fluids out and break up lumps. Even now almost 2weeks later I still elevate often. Dizziness is still somewhat present as my body adjusts to having new pathways. This has been my experience I hope it helps others who are considering this ptocedure. One more piece of advice - the draining is a little messy and my bed linens got a bit blood stained.

  • LoriWW LoriWW

    I am scheduled for ligation (not stripping) surgery later this month - my right leg only - and after reading all of your posts I'm starting to feel very apprehensive about the recovery! My doctor has said that initial recovery will only be 1-2 days, full recovery (back to all activities - and I'm a personal trainer and a runner) within a week. Is this pie in the sky wishful thinking??? I have numerous races scheduled this summer and fall....

  • Judyjane Judyjane

    Hi, the surgery (on my right leg) I had, was ligation (the varicose vein at the top of my thigh was cut & separated, and another cut was made on my inner leg above my knee) and then (varicose vein) removed (stripped). plus smaller cuts on my lower leg.

    I'm really happy I had the surgery. Recovery time was minimal. I gave myself a week to recover. I totally recommend using arnica tablets (30c montana) & Arnica cream. Keep stretching and warming your calf muscle, as I found it seemed to tighten, but in no way was painful. You'll be back running & training in no time. Just don't stress, you do need recovery time and time to heal. Scarring is minimal. I used rosehip oil after cuts healed and massaged it in twice a day, which helped break down the scar tissue. Scars are barely visible now.

    The surgery will not affect future performance, if anything, it should enhance performance. As you know being a PT you need recovery time and rest for any injuries let alone surgery. Don't worry, your doctor is correct, the initial recovery is 1-2 days, make sure you rest. Good luck with your future races.

  • LoriWW LoriWW

    Thank you for the feedback! I feel much better about this after reading your comments. I will make sure to get some arnica and rosehip oil and I will do my best to rest (this is the tough part for me!)

  • Lel. Lel.

    Hi,

    I had stripping and EVLT on right leg 5 weeks ago and it's only now coming right! I had the left leg done last Friday and this one is much worse! Very sore and difficult to walk and impossible to get a decent night's sleep.

    Everyone is different and I think some may have been very lucky but Ifound it much much worse than I expected. A lot sorer and much longer to recover!

    Sorry if I sound depressing but think it's better to be realistic and it's certainly very distressing and much more than the monor procedure it's sometimes made out to be.

    Good health to everyone.

    • margoroy margoroy Lel.

      I totally agree. Wish they were honest abput recovery. Beside excruciating pain have to deal with worry that something is wrong. At least we are not crazy or alone. Good luck to all of us to heal.

       

  • Breaks1 Breaks1

    Hello all!!

    Glad I have also come across this site as I also feel not great after vein stripping one week ago.

    I thought the surgery was great, not groggy no pain, until the recovery started. I have a really tight bandage on like a huge plaster from groin to ankle!! Which is so tight the pressure is awful! Due to have this off in

    Morning which I'm dreading as it's stuck on tight... My vein was only small behind my knee but wanted it sorting before it got worse. I can see the bruising at the top of the bandage so not sure what's going on underneath???? And the top of my thigh is really swollen. I have also felt really sick just when I stand up. Just hope the results are worth it and can't wait for a bath!!!

  • Madji Madji

    Hi

    Well i'm going for both legs stripping in a couple of days, having had several bouts of very painful Phlebitis and DVTs i can only hope the the the initial pain from the surgery provides long term relief from the other syptoms, here's to a positive outcome!

    • susan17162 susan17162 Madji

      I love the positive attitude! I hope all did go well for you. I had mine done on Friday! Had my ultrasound done yesterday to make sure there were no blood clots, ace bandages off and back to work today (Tuesday), glad I had mine done!

  • jparker911 jparker911

    I looked into getting surgery for my varicose veins until I did some more research and found that there are other treatment options besides surgery that work just as good if not better than surgery. I found the usa vein clinic where they use a laser to get rid of varicose veins. No surgery. It's was an in office procedure that only took about 15 minutes. It was fast and painless surprisingly. The whole staff there was very helpful and kind. i would recommend them to anyone wanting to get rid of their varicose veins permanently and without pain or downtime like surgery. Also studies show that people who get surgery to get rid of their varicose veins instead of a laser type procedure are more likely to re develop their varicose veins in the future.

  • elka elka

    just had evlt on my right leg due to painful bulky veins ,found the procedure quite painful (had it done 11th dec 2012 ) so still in recovery ,bandages are now off and have alot of bruising ,but he veins havent gone sad also having alot of pain from where the needles went in ,am i complaining to early ? is this normal ? read up that your back on your feet in 2 days and i can hardly walk

    • margoroy margoroy elka

      Very painful recovery. Going on 3 1/2 wks. lots of burning, tightness, I also have bulky veins. Leg is a mess. Difficult sleeping. Hope time will get my leg feel like normal. Wasnt prepared for this. Good luck to all of us.

    • Batty37 Batty37 margoroy

      I had my left leg done 4 weeks ago tomorrow. Has been quire uncomfortable especially the inner thigh. I have approx 27 little cuts from the procedure and still have some bruising. I diddnt get much post op info at all. I go in on the 6th June to get my left leg done! My consultant advised to take at least 6 weeks off work for each leg.

  • nell3 nell3

    I had "numerous" varicose veins stripped on my right leg and lasar treatment (stab phlebectomy) done on 1/14/13 (all on my left legs). I've had really bad varicose veins since highschool and finally decided I needed to get them taken care of (they didn't really bother me but my leg looked awful). I am a 30 year old women who has an extremely high pain tolerance. At my age, I have double break jaw surgery, gallbladder surgery and gum grafting done. I've never had so much pain during a procedure as this one. Not sure if it's common for the rest of y'all, but I was awake during this procedure and injected (more like stabbed) with local anesthesia. During the procedure, I could literally feel everything. I was biting on my sweat shirt and my whole body was shaking (not sure if I was about to go into shock or if it was from all the local anesthesia). Hands down will never do this again without being put under. I'm

    A dietitian and work with nurses. They were shocked I was awake for this (again, I had numerous veins).

    Recovery for me has been similar to your experiences. The doctor told me I'd be okay for work 2 days later and I had to take the rest of the week off. Walking is painful, even with the stocking. I feel my pain is worse at night when sleeping. Anyone experience this. Sleeping itself is a nightmare. I have a bad right knee and due to having to keep it elevated, it gets super stiff. Like everyone else, bruising badly and standing too long makes me feel like my leg weighs 10000lbs. I have tape over the openings but I'm not sure how they are supposed to heal properly with them being covered and wearing my stocking all the time. Ugh. So ready for all this to be done with and hoping it was worth the 2 grand I paid for surgery. I guess my only question is: how long do I have to elevate my legs while sleeping? It's been a week.

    Best of luck to everyone recovering and everyone considering this procedure. It's a gigantic no-funner.

    • SomeThingElse SomeThingElse nell3

      Nell3,

      Iam so glad I read about your experience. Everybody talks about how easy the procedure is and how awful the recovery is. My experience was the opposite.

      I'm sorry that your recovery has also been unpleasant.

      I had the exact same experience as you, and I also have a high pain tolerance.  I, too found this procedure extremely unpleasant. I wouldn't call it excruciating, but about a 4.5 on a scale of 10 being the most painful and 1 being the least. and it kept up for so long. Every time I thought the worst was over, it would get bad again, so toward the end on the procedure, I was shaking like a leaf, and tears were running down my face. The doctor was shocked when he finally noticed my condition. He said, "Are you okay? You're shaking like a leaf." I replied that I was expecting the procedure to be a walk in the park and I'd found it very unpleasant. He kept insisting it wasn't bad, but I insisted it was unpleasant. I admitted that I cry at the drop of a hat, lately, and that the crying comes easily to me these days (grief from many lisses of loved ones), but the stress and discomfort of the procedure had gotten me to and beyond my crying point, lol! (I laugh NOW...)

      They insisted that most people don't have any problem with pain. He was actually trying to get me to agree that it was not painful, while I was experiencing pain! Weird. Like if I said it was okay, it would be!  Maybe they think I'm a nut case. Who know WHAT they think, but they insisted I was not experiencing pain, when I know good and well, that I was...

      I, too, could feel the catheter  (some of the time, not all of the time) in my vessel, feeling as though it were about to poke through it.

      Nell, I'm an RN and familiar with most procedures, so I was shocked that this was so unpleasant, as it's not a procedure I'd ever become familiar with in a hospital, as I have with most invasive procesures, being a doctor's office procedure, I figured it would go well - ha!

      They had offered me a prescrription for Xanax which I'd declined, but they offered again to call a prescription to my pharmacy, and I said please do!  I don't like taking such medications and didn't think I'd need it because I'm usually quite tough. Wow, next time I will take it and also be praying like crazy to help me through the procedure. (I dread it horribly...)

      My doctor had scheduled 6 procedures for 3 vessels in each leg, with 2 per week on each leg, alternating right, then left, so that the series would be completed within 3 weeks. I immediately cancelled and decided to see how the recovery went before proceeding. It's apparent to me, that you and I are not of the vast majority because most say the procedure isn't so bad, but the recovery is unpleasant. Well, it's been 8 days now, since the procedure, and I've had no problems and no disconfort. The post-procedure ultrasound showed that the vein closed up nicely. Since I've recovered so well, I've decided to continue, but I'm scheduling procedures 2 to 3 weeks apart so I can assess my progress before continuing. Thank you for sharing your experience. My doctor and his staff pretty told me it isn't painful, although my experience told me they're either minimizing my discomfort, or you and I have had an unusual experience. Nobody will even get me to believe that my discomfort did not happen! I'm not crazy and I'm not a baby; I'm usually quite strong and mentally tough. Strange...

      I am comforted by the fact that my doctor is a thoracic/vascular surgeon with many years of experience who is doing this procedure as a means of reducing his stress load in the latter portion of his career.

      Luckily, my insurance covers the procedure.

      Good luck, Nell.

    • amy79807 amy79807 nell3

      Hello there, boy I wish I would've read this a week ago. Here I am recovering from the same procedure and I am taking it day by day. The surgery itself was the most painful thing I have ever experienced!!!! I too was awake and my "2" Valium didn't do a darn thing. I clutched a wash cloth during the procedure and used it to dry my tears. I don't understand why we had to be awake! I could feel everything that the doctor was doing. I see that it has been a year for you, and I hope that you are fully recovered. Take care smile

  • helen26 helen26

    Hello mostly to the ladies,

    I had my veins stripped on the 21 January. I had to wear compression stockings during the last 2 of my 3 pregnancies. I also am feeling generally unwell.

    Initially I was taking panadeine forte, however this made me feel worse I believe due to the codeine. Now I am not taking any pain relief and feel ok. I had them mainly done on my mid-thigh and knee area.

    I also often feel faint and light - headed when I sit and stand up. The bandages are a bit itchy and uncomfortable. I believe that they are needed to minimise bruising and to help the blood to make it's way back to the heart. Also my inner thigh is quite bruised and th bandages keep rolling up around that area. It's all quite uncomfortable.

    I often underestimate the effect of situations on myself. I expect to be tough and resilient, when really I have a tough exterior and inside need just as much recovery as any one. I certainly am not super woman. This is a good time to rest up. God knows that we all need a rest and that our bodies need recovery from such an onslaught. I'm not a robot. I am flesh and blood and need time to repair. So I pray to extend to myself enough grace so that I can have that time to return to health.

  • clair2 clair2

    Hi had my varicose vain out y.day at hospital, i was so scared to get it done but would just like to say the nurses and doctors took good care of me.I got put to sleep and was very scared, but was nothing to it..Felt like i was a sleep for 5min and was all over with..I managed to walk afterword to my surprise. And am now home had my bandages changed today was a bit sore.Bit bruised but would just like to say to anyone who scared getting it done it's not as bad as u think it going to be..And good luck if ur getting it done.Am off work for a while.But looking forward to getting my legs out,when heals all up lol smile

  • pina1 pina1

    Just had EVLT on Friday, not so much in pain but more so the pain of wearing these stalkings!!!

    I was told from Doctor to wear them for 5 days and 5 nights straight.

    They keep rolling off and causing most of the pain!!!!

    Not sure what i can do? Any ideas!! HELP!!

  • kate94 kate94

    Blooming heck - I am on day 4 and I didn't expect this / I feel I was very misled by my research on ligation - had it on both legs and my thighs are almost black - Nowhere did i read that so i panicked initially/ am the worst patient anyway but I have now read people's experiences and realise recovery is slow /

    back to consultant today as stockings wrongly sized and at least I have been allowed knee highs now - surgery done by one of the topVascular surgeons in the uk so have to be confident but a surgeon is a surgeon and they are a bit like mechanics - especially when they pull off dressing attached to pubic hair. !' Keep telling hubby I will have lovely legs again - he's not convinced and will probably have left me by then ! Lol !

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