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|Updated May 5, 2006|
Postthrombotic Syndrome, PTS
Studies show forty to eighty percent of DVT victims eventually develop PTS, with chronic swelling and pain, sometimes with open sores that can cover the lower leg. If you spent weeks with swelling and pain before your DVT was treated, you probably had permanent damage to the veins that will lead to PTS.
One expert (see bibliography, Franzeck) advises wearing compression stockings for five years after DVT to reduce the risk of PTS or reduce the severity of PTS. Some experts advise wearing a compression stocking during the first six months of warfarin treatment. You should certainly be wearing a compression stocking whenever you have any swelling or other DVT symptoms. The stocking can be worn under your regular socks so it doesn't show.
New techniques for treating damaged veins have been developed including ways to reduce the vein diameter and allow valves to close. This can be done with surgical stitches or by installing a sleeve. Before you see a phlebologist, review these techniques at American Venous Forum so you can ask the right questions about the treatment proposed for you. Since these techniques are new, some phlebologists, including some members of the American Venous forum, are not practicing them yet. If you don't have a phlebologist, the AVF website allows you to search for one near you.