Why Wear Compression Hose?
The most conservative way to manage varicose vein disease is wearing prescription-strength compression stockings (usually knee length, but sometimes thigh length hose are needed). Compression stockings help alleviate the swelling and pain caused by varicose veins. These stockings will also help heal any skin inflammation or ulcerations which have developed. However, there has never been any evidence to show that compression stockings prevent the formation of varicose veins. Since the diseased veins that are causing the symptoms are not being eliminated, the compression s
stockings have to be worn indefinitely. Some insurance companies are now requiring patients to wear prescription strength compression stockings for 3-6 months before they will consider reimbursement for treatment.
Compression hose definitely has a beneficial role after treatments like sclerotherapy and endovenous closure
Studies have shown that wearing graduated compression stockings after sclerotherapy plays an important role in reducing the risk of complications as well as improving the results and clearing of the treated veins. Therefore, it is our practice at EMA to order compression stockings after sclerotherapy treatment. If you choose NOT to wear the compression, you acknowledge that you are at higher risk for complications, in particular:
HYPERPIGMENTATION: This is a brownish discoloration which can appear several weeks after treatment. The discoloration usually goes away in 4-12 months. In some cases, the discoloration is permanent.
ACHING/PAIN: Aching for several days after sclerotherapy is common and is relieved by walking briskly and wearing the prescribed compression stockings immediately after treatment.
TELANGIECTATIC MATTING: This is the development of tiny new blood vessels in the treated area and may look like an area of blushing or a reddish/purplish smudge. This usually occurs 2-4 weeks after a treatment and may take several months to resolve.
PHLEBITIS: Lack of compression increases the chances that blood might re-accumulate in a partially collapsed vein and form a blood clot. This can lead to swelling, inflammation and pain requiring further medical treatment.
Types of Compression Hose
Compression hose has come a long way from the days of ugly, orthopedic, heavy material and today are virtually indistinguishable from regular hosiery or socks, coming in a wide variety of colors, sheerness and lengths (ie: knee high, thigh high and full pantyhose size
Compression hose are constructed using elastic fibers or rubber. These fibers help compress the limb, aiding in circulation.
They are offered in different levels of compression. The unit of measure used to classify the pressure of the stockings is mmHg:
Light Support Compression, 9-12 & 15-20 mm Hg:
- Mild foot and leg swelling
- Mild varicosities
- Preventative support
- Standing, sitting or traveling for extended periods of time
Moderate Compression, 20-30 mm Hg Class I:
- Chronic leg fatigue and heaviness
- Ankle, foot and leg swelling
- Mild varicosities
- Post surgical
- Preventative treatment during pregnancy
- Superficial thrombophlebitis
- Preventative for those with disposition for vein disease
Heavy Compression, 30-40 mm Hg Class II:
- Moderate varicosities
- Moderate edema
- Lymphatic edema
- Prevention and treatment of venous ulcers
- Venous insufficiency
- Prophylaxis of thrombosis
Anti-Embolism, 18 mm Hg:
- Thrombo Embolic Deterrent
- Non-ambulatory, bed-ridden patients
- Pre- and post-surgical procedures
- Mild varicosities
So what's the problem?
People don't like compression hose because they are mildly to really difficult to put on. With proper instruction, however, most people do just fine.
Here in Charlotte, we recommend Compression Works located: 906 Pecan Ave Charlotte, NC 28205 phone - (704) 376-5353. The staff there are friendly, discrete and have great advice on how to work with compression stockings.
Here is a video that may help with fitting compression hose: