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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2006 May;31(5):553-7. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Return to work following varicose vein surgery: influence of type of operation, employment and social status.

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Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, St James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK.



To determine factors which influence the time taken to return to work in patients undergoing varicose vein surgery.


Prospective collection of data from patients at outpatient interview.


The Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at a teaching hospital in the UK.


Two hundred and fifteen consecutive employed or self-employed patients attending the outpatient clinic for review following varicose vein surgery.


Data was collected from patients in the outpatient clinic approximately 6 weeks following varicose vein surgery. Type of procedure, gender, occupation status, category of occupation, the incidence of complications and the time taken to return to work (RTW) was recorded. Statistics were performed using Kruskal-Wallis H, Mann-Whitney U and chi-squared analysis.


Two hundred and fifteen patients were included, 77 (36%) men and 138 (64%) women. One hundred and ninety-two (89%) were employed and 23 (11%) self-employed. One hundred and fifty-three underwent primary saphenofemoral (SFJ) surgery, 10 bilateral procedures, 23 primary saphenopopliteal surgery (SPJ), 14 redo operations, five combined SFJ and SPJ, two mid thigh perforator ligation, six phlebectomies without groin or popliteal surgery and two bilateral surgery for recurrence. There was no relationship of gender or incidence of complications to RTW. There was a significant difference (p<0.0001) between employed (median RTW 4 weeks, interquartile range 2-5 weeks) and self-employed patients (median 2 weeks, interquartile range 1-4 weeks). Occupation category did show an overall significant difference (p<0.0001) on Kruskal-Wallis H-testing. Paired Mann-Whitney U-analysis showed that this difference was between occupation class I (median RTW 2 weeks, interquartile range 1-3 weeks) and IIIN (median 3.5 weeks, interquartile range 2-5 weeks), IIIM (median 5 weeks, interquartile range 2-5 weeks), IV (median 4 weeks, interquartile range 2-6 weeks) and V (median 4 weeks interquartile range 3-6 weeks), and between class II (median 3 weeks, interquartile range 2-4 weeks) and classes IIIM, IV and V.


Employed patients and those involved in intensive manual labour are less likely to return to work early. There is no effect of gender or incidence of complications. On the basis of this study we would recommend that patients could return to work within 3 weeks of varicose veins surgery.

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