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Varicose veins


At Mater Health Services we understand that being in hospital can be a very stressful experience. This booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns in keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs. It explains briefly the events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments.

If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse. Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated embers of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

Varicose veins

varicose veinsVaricose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins in your lower body.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins—a common, mild and medically insignificant variation of varicose veins—are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes the condition leads to more serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other disorders of the circulatory system.

  • You will stay in the recovery room within the theatre suite after the operation while you waken from the anaesthetic. You will be transferred on your bed to your room in the Day Procedure Unit.
  • Your nurse will take frequent observations of your vital signs (e.g. pulse) and dressings for several hours after the surgery. These will become less frequent as you recover but remain regular until you leave hospital.
  • Your legs will be bandaged from the toes to just below the groin. Your nurse will observe and monitor these bandages for wound ooze.
  • You will be resting in bed immediately after your surge


The following exercises help prevent complications suchas chest infections and blood clots in your legs. You should do these every hour that you are awake while resting in bed.

Breathing exercises: take five long and slow deep breaths. Each breath should be deeper than the previous breath. Think about getting the air to the very bottom of your lungs.

Circulation exercises: firmly move your ankles up and down to stretch and contract your calf muscles.

  • When you are ready to get out of bed for the first time following your surgery it is important that you have assistance.
  • About four hours after you return to the ward, your nurse will assist you to have a wash.
  • You may have small amounts of water or ice to suck, then progress from fluids to a normal diet as tolerated.
  • If you have pain or nausea, please tell your nurse as there are medications which can be given to relieve this. It is important to be comfortable.
  • The drip (IV) is necessary to maintain your fluid intake. This will be removed when you are tolerating adequate amounts of oral fluids.

In preparation of going home

  • Your nurse will discuss your follow-up appointment and any discharge arrangements that have been made with you.
  • Discharge information will be given to you and your nurse will discuss this with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
  • A full assessment will be made prior to transferring you to the Transit Lounge in preparation for discharge to ascertain your condition is safe for you to go home.
  • You will be transferred to the Transit Lounge anytime from 7 am on the morning following your surgery. This is where you will wait for your transportation home.

Those picking you up will find the Transit Lounge:

    • on the fourth floor of Mater Hospital Brisbane
    • just inside the ambulance entrance
    • opposite the waiting area for the Emergency Department.
  • It is still recommended to perform deep breathing, coughing and leg exercises while you are resting in bed.
  • You will recommence your normal medications.
  • Please tell the nursing staff if you have any pain so that they may give you medication to help relieve it.
  • Your dressings will stay intact until you see your doctor.

Discharge advice following varicose veins surgery

What to expect

  • You may have some pain in your legs, for which you can take simple pain relieving medications e.g. Paracetamol, no more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.
  • Your leg or legs will be bandaged from the toes to just below the groin for a period of five days. After five days, you will come back to see the doctor or go to your GP and have your dressings and sutures removed. This may vary, depending on the consultant.
  • Some bruising is normal.
  • You have been advised to wear elastic support stockings. These should be worn during the next three weeks except when you have your shower and when you go to bed at night.

What to avoid

  • sitting with your knees bent—instead, sit with you legs elevated and flex your feet at regular intervals
  • sitting with your legs crossed at the knee
  • driving until after you have seen your doctor at your first follow-up appointment
  • lifting anything heavy for four weeks
  • pushing or dragging anything heavy for four weeks
  • wearing constrictive clothing on your legs eg. tights or garters.

What to do

  • take short frequent walks, increasing the distance gradually
  • keep the dressings dry.


Please contact Mater Hospital Brisbane Procedure Unit on 07 3163 8324, Mater Hospital Brisbane Emergency Department on 07 3163 8111 oryour general practitioner (GP) if any of the following occur after discharge:

  • increased pain unrelieved by simple pain relieving medications e.g. paracetamol
  • you develop a fever
  • you have a discharge or blood coming from your wounds, particularly in the groin
  • you have any other symptoms of infection. This may include excess redness around the wound site which is hot to touch.

Mater Hospital Brisbane

Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane Q 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111

South Brisbane campus


Staff of Mater Hospital Brisbane, South Brisbane

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420043
Last modified 17/3/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 12/8/2015
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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