Before going home make sure you’re clear about:
- how to look after your leg
- driving (don’t forget to also check with your car insurance company in case they have any restrictions following a procedure)
- symptoms that warrant medical attention.
Your recovery process varies depending on the type of anaesthetic you have.
If you have a general anaesthetic, you may feel different for 2 or 3 days, with fatigue or memory problems. If so, avoid alcohol and making big decisions. You should also try to have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours.
How you’ll feel
Your leg will probably feel sore and this will increase over the next 8 to 10 days. The leg will be bruised and swollen. Usually by day 12 to 14 these symptoms will ease. Try and keep your leg elevated when you’re sitting.
Your doctor or anaesthetist will probably prescribe or recommend some painkillers which you can use when your leg becomes too uncomfortable.
It’s normal to have some bleeding from the incisions. To reduce it, lie down with your leg propped on a pillow. If the bleeding doesn’t slow, call your doctor for advice.
It’s a good idea to go for a gentle walk each day, gradually increasing your level of activity. Exercise will be uncomfortable but lowers your risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). There are no restrictions on lifting.
You should wait 1 week before driving as the discomfort in your leg may make it difficult to handle a driving emergency.
You may need help with bathing after your surgery. You can have a shower or bath 48 hours after surgery. There may be some bleeding from the incisions. Don’t forget to put your compression stocking on after bathing.
Returning to work
You’ll probably feel well enough to go back to work in 1 to 2 weeks.
You’ll need to make a follow-up appointment with your doctor to see how you’re doing.
Watching out for problems
Call your doctor immediately or go to your hospital emergency department if you have:
- fever or chills
- increased discharge from an incision
- increased bleeding
- worsening leg pain
- a leg that becomes swollen, blue and tingling
- leg cramps
- skin discolouration.