After having surgery, your doctor will likely recommend wearing compression socks during your recovery. The recommended duration for wearing compression socks after surgery typically ranges from 2 to 6 weeks, but the specific time frame depends on the type of surgery and individual recovery progress.
Read on to learn why compression socks are recommended post-surgery and how long to wear them based on your specific operation.
How Long to Wear Compression Socks after Surgery
The duration you need to wear compression socks depends on the type of surgery performed. More invasive procedures that limit mobility require longer use.
Major Orthopedic Surgery
This includes total hip or knee replacement, hip fracture surgery and extensive leg reconstruction. These carry the highest risk for blood clots. You will need to wear anti-embolism compression socks for at least 2 to 6 weeks after surgery. Some doctors recommend continuing use for up to 3 months.
Abdominal or Pelvic Surgery
Any surgery on the abdomen or pelvic area like hysterectomy, prostate removal or bowel resection comes with an increased risk of clots. You should wear compression socks for a minimum of 2 weeks after surgery. For cancer-related operations or if you have other clotting risk factors, your doctor may advise a full 6 weeks of compression sock use during recovery.
Wear compression socks for at least 7-10 days after having general surgery like gallbladder removal, hernia repair or gastric bypass. If your mobility is reduced after the operation, your doctor may recommend continuing use for up to a month to prevent DVT.
After orthopedic procedures like ACL reconstruction, rotator cuff repair or ankle surgery plan to use compression socks for 1-2 weeks. The limited mobility from these surgeries prevents normal muscle contractions that move blood through the leg veins. Compression socks will stimulate circulation until you are moving normally again.
Plastic surgery ranges from minimally invasive like breast augmentation to major like a tummy tuck or liposuction. If your procedure is more complex or significantly limits mobility, you’ll need to wear compression socks for at least a week. For simpler procedures with less surgical risk, you may only need 2-3 days of compression sock use during initial recovery.
What are Compression Socks?
Compression socks are tight fitting socks that apply gentle pressure to the legs. This graduated compression helps promote blood flow in the veins of the legs. The socks are tightest at the ankles and gradually decrease in pressure up the leg. This mimics the pressure exerted on leg veins by walking and moving your muscles.
Wearing compression socks helps:
- Improve circulation and prevent blood from pooling in the legs
- Reduce swelling and pain
- Aid in preventing dangerous blood clots after surgery
Why Wear Compression Socks Post-Surgery?
After having surgery, you are at increased risk for developing blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Sitting still during long operations allows blood to stagnate and clot. Other risk factors like smoking, obesity, cancer, and age also raise your chances of DVT.
Blood clots are extremely dangerous. If they travel to the lungs, it can block blood flow causing pulmonary embolism. This is potentially fatal. Wearing compression socks helps stimulate blood flow in the legs to stop clots from forming. They also reduce swelling and varicose veins.
Your surgeon will assess your risk factors and likely put you on a regimen of compression socks along with blood thinners or anticoagulants. Compression socks are easy to use and effective at preventing major complications.
How to Use Compression Socks After Surgery
To get the full benefit, there are some important do's and don'ts for using compression socks:
- Do follow your surgeon's instructions for how long to wear them and which type/compression level to use.
- Do put socks on before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Do smooth out any wrinkles in the sock and ensure even compression.
- Do remove socks at night before going to sleep.
- Don't roll down tops of socks - this reduces compression.
- Don't wear socks that are too tight. Notify your doctor of any discomfort or restriction.
- Don't hesitate to ask your medical team any questions about proper use.
Compression socks are an essential part of postoperative recovery. Be diligent about wearing them correctly for the full recommended duration. Along with medications and movement, compression socks will help prevent major complications so you can focus on healing after your procedure. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about wearing compression socks after your specific surgery.
Get Your Compression Socks Today
Recovery is difficult enough after surgery without adding risks and complications into the mix; be smart by listening to medical advice and protecting yourself with compression socks from Dunn Medical. Whether your doctor prescribes compression socks for 2 weeks or 2 months post-operation, it’s imperative you comply to prevent blood clots and swelling during reduced mobility recovery periods.
Dunn Medical makes it easy to follow doctor's orders with our wide selection of compression socks in various styles, sizes and medically-approved gradient compression levels. Make the investment in your health by getting proper anti-embolism socks from our catalog today - your legs and lungs will thank you!