Your surgeon, or another healthcare professional responsible for your care, will advise you on how long you should wear compression stockings for after your operation and how to use them correctly.
When compression stockings are recommended after surgery, they should usually be worn as much as possible, day and night, until you're able to move around freely.
Compression stockings are used after surgery to prevent blood clots developing in the leg, which is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
They're often recommended if it's likely you'll be unable to move around much after surgery, either due to the after-effects of surgery or having another medical condition that affects your mobility.
Who needs compression stockings after surgery?
When you're admitted to hospital, your risk of DVT will be assessed to decide whether you need compression stockings.
You may need to wear stockings even if you're able to leave hospital on the same day as your operation.
Your risk of developing DVT may be increased if:
- you're having major surgery under general anaesthetic
- you have a condition that increases the risk of DVT
- you're expected to be a lot less mobile after surgery (if you have to stay in bed for some time, you cannot walk without help, or spend most of the day in a chair)
Reducing your risk of DVT
Wearing compression stockings is one way of reducing your risk of developing DVT.
Your risk can also be reduced by making sure you drink enough fluids (check with your surgeon how much you should be drinking) and moving around as soon as possible after your operation.
In some cases, anticoagulant medication may be prescribed to prevent blood clots.