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Varicose Veins

Information for patients and carers

Each person may require different treatments. This is intended as a guide only.

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

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. This is because standing and walking 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.

Expected length of hospital stay: overnight

Our expectations

Prior to discharge:

  1. minimal wound ooze
  2. your pain will be well controlled
  3. you will tolerate diet and fluids
  4. you will be able to mobilise freely

Preadmission clinic

Mater Private Hospital Redland provides a preadmission health assessment on the information you have provided to us. You may receive a phone call if required, to clarify any health information you have provided.

This preadmission service gathers information, initiates investigations to prepare you for your surgery, provides information regarding your specific operation and identifies discharge needs.

Things to do before you come to hospital:

  • It is important for you to bring X-rays and any medications that you take. Your medications need to be in their labelled containers or Webster pack.
  • If you are taking any blood thinning or arthritis medications please follow instructions provided by your specialist, as sometimes it is important that these medications be stopped in preparation for your surgery.
  • It is necessary that you have nothing to eat or drink (including water, lollies and chewing gum) at least six hours before your operation. Please follow instructions provided by your doctor.
  • It is important for you to shower then dress into clean clothes prior to coming into hospital. No skin products are to be used following your shower (for example deodorant, perfume, body lotion, powder).
  • As Mater Private Hospital Redland is unable to accept liability for losses it is highly recommended that you leave your valuables at home for safety and security purposes. Please bring essential items only.
  • You can expect to be going home the day following your surgery following a visit by your doctor.

Before your operation

  • When you come to hospital proceed to reception at Mater Private Hospital Redland foyer. You will be directed to where you will be admitted.
  • The assessment form completed at the preadmission service will be reviewed and your health team will plan for your individualised care while in hospital and any support you may require after discharge. Your nurse will also check that your consent form has been signed or organised to be signed before your operation.
  • Your nurse will discuss with you any concerns that you may have about your surgery and needs that you may have when you are discharged.
  • It is an infection control requirement at Mater that, if you have transferred from another health care facility or you have a history of previous colonisation of multiresistant organisms, nasal, wound and perianal swabs need to be taken.
  • The medications you brought to hospital will be collected. Please remember to ask for these to be returned to you when you leave the hospital. Please inform the nurse admitting you if you have been taking any blood thinning or arthritis medications prior to your admission, as these may have needed to be stopped before your operation day. It is usual for you to continue taking your other prescribed medications.
  • You will have an identification armband applied. This will stay on for the duration of your stay for identification and safety reasons. If you have known allergies, you will also have an allergy armband applied, for your safety.
  • Your nurse will take a set of baseline observations (for example, temperature, pulse, blood pressure) and weigh you.
  • Your groin and leg will need to be clipped prior to surgery to reduce infection.
  • You will be asked to dress into theatre clothing.
  • You may be prescribed a medication before you go to surgery.
  • Before you leave for theatre a preoperative check list will be completed with you by your nurse. This checklist will be repeated in the operating reception area. Apart from your wedding band, no jewellery or metal is to be worn to theatre.
  • You will be escorted to the operating suite.
  • It is important that you practise your breathing and leg exercises which you will need to commence once you have woken up from your operation.

Breathing and circulation exercises after your operation

Varicose veinsThe following exercises help prevent complications such as chest infections and blood clots in your legs. You should do these every hour that you are awake and while on bedrest.

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.

After your operation

  • You will stay in the recovery room within the theatre suite after the operation while you waken from the anaesthetic. You will then be transferred in your bed to your room.
  • Your nurse will take frequent observations of your vital signs (for example, temperature, pulse, blood pressure) dressings/drains for several hours after the surgery. As you become fully recovered, these become less frequent 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 surgery. 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.
  • 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 this pain.
  • 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, and you can take simple pain relieving medications, for example, Paracetamol. Do not take 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 need to come back to see your doctor or visit 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 shower and when you go to bed at night.

What to avoid

  • Do not sit with your knees bent or with your legs crossed at the knee—instead, sit with you legs elevated and flex your feet at regular intervals.
  • Do not drive until after you have seen your doctor at your first follow-up appointment.
  • Do not lift, push or drag anything heavy for at least four weeks.
  • Do no wear constrictive clothing on your legs, for example tights or garters.

What to do

  • Take short frequent walks increasing the distance gradually.
  • Keep the dressings dry.

Contact

Please contact your General Practitioner (GP) or your nearest emergency department IMMEDIATELY if you experience any of the following after your procedure:

  • increased pain that is unrelieved by the simple pain relieving medications (e.g. paracetamol)
  • you develop a fever
  • you have a discharge/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.

Acknowledgements

Staff of Mater Private Hospital Redland

Carepath Coordinator Mater Private Hospital Redland

Reference: Milliman CareGuidelines: Inpatient and Surgical Care/Ambulatory surgery/ Home Care, 1990 – 2009

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-460017
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 15/9/2014
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