Compression bandaging for varicose veins?

The question: “Would compression bandaging be appropriate for X’s varicose veins?”

My first thought was ‘No’, because I distantly remembered the latest NICE guidelines vetoing compression bandaging as an option for treatment. However, when I double-checked, this wasn’t exactly what they said; what they said was ‘Do not offer compression hosiery to treat varicose veins unless interventional treatment is unsuitable’ (1.3.4). In this particular case, surgical treatment did seem of questionable appropriateness for various reasons, so this brought me to the question of how compression bandaging compared to no treatment, where those were the alternatives.

The research: I looked on Medline but had no luck finding anything on the use of compression bandaging in non-ulcer situations. I therefore pulled up the full NICE guidelines, the ones that include evidence, and looked up the section comparing compression bandaging with no treatment (8.1).

The answer:  Bottom line summary on this section is that the available evidence isn’t brilliant, but what there is indicates that compression bandaging improves various symptoms. It didn’t say anything about the risk of complications.

The conclusion: X’s varicose veins are asymptomatic as things stand, so, in the absence of evidence about whether compression bandaging would reduce complication risk, I don’t see that it’s worth it.

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About Dr Sarah

I'm a GP with a husband and two young children.
This entry was posted in Credits 2015, DENs, Vascular. Bookmark the permalink.

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