The 21st century has witnessed a rise in the use of endovenous thermal ablation. Being highly clinically and cost-effective and improving the quality of life of patients, they are now considered to be the “gold-standard” treatment for varicose veins. Post-intervention management, especially in terms of postoperative compression, however, remains unclear. As a result, a randomized study was undertaken to investigate the effects of wearing compression stockings after varicose vein treatment.
Patients with saphenous vein reflux undergoing treatment with endothermal ablation (with or without concurrent phlebectomies) were randomized to receive either 7 days of compression stockings or no stockings. The primary outcome measure for this study was the pain score over the first 10 postoperative days. The pain scores, clinical score, time to return to normal activities, and ecchymosis were assessed. Patients were followed-up at 2 weeks and 6 months post-ablation.
In total, 206 patients were randomized, 49% of them to the compression group. The mean age was 49.7 (±16) years and approximately 51% of the population was male. The median pain score in the compression group using a visual analog scale was significantly lower on days 2–5, compared to the no compression group. Those having concurrent phlebectomies and compression stockings also had significantly better pain scores on days 1–3, day 5, and day 7. Improvement in the median venous clinical severity score was noted at 6-month follow-up, but this was not significant. No difference in the generic- or disease-specific quality of life was observed and the time to return to activities was similar. There were no differences in the degree of ecchymosis between the 2 groups and both groups had similar occlusion rates.
These results indicate that wearing compression stockings after endothermal ablation is advantageous in the first few days after treatment and is especially beneficial for those having concurrent phlebectomies.