Background: The need for patients to wear compression stockings after varicose vein surgery and the duration of compressions tocking therapy has been debated. This study isa meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to determine the optimal duration of compression stocking therapy after endovenous thermal ablation (ETA) of the great saphenous vein. Methods: The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched before January 2019. Individual effect sizes were standardized, and a meta-analysis was conducted to calculate the pooled effect size by using a random effects model. The primary outcome was the severity of pain in the postoperative period. Secondary outcomes were quality of life (QoL), leg volume, bruising scores, consumptionof analgesic agents, recovery time off work, satisfaction, and the incidence rates of postoperative complications including paresthesia and phlebitis. Results: Five RCTsinvolving775 patients were reviewed. The long-duration (1–2 weeks) group significantly reduced postoperative pain at 1 week (mean difference [MD] 1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.58–1.80) and recovery time off work (MD: 1.01 day, 95% CI: 0.06–1.96)when compared with the short-duration (24–48 h) group. However, the mean pain scores at 2 (0.1; 95% CI: 0–0.2) and 6 weeks postoperatively (−0.3; 95% CI: −1.09-0.49) did not differ significantly between the two groups. Moreover, the incidence rates of complication, paresthesia, and phlebitis did not differ significantly between the short-duration and long-duration groups. Conclusion: The use of compression therapy for a long time (1–2 weeks) is better than short-term (24–48 h) use in terms of postoperative pain at 1 week and recovery off work. Hence, we recommend the prescription of 1-week compression stocking therapy after ETA in routine clinical practice. However, the available evidence is of variable quality, further well-structured RCTs with improved standardization of compression treatment, types of stockings, and target populations are warranted.
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