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Am J Surg. 2004 Jul;188(1A Suppl):1-8.

Protocol for the successful treatment of venous ulcers.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, 5141 Broadway, New York, New York 10034, USA.


Venous ulcers affect up to 2.5 million patients per year in the United States. Although not usually fatal, these chronic wounds severely affect patients' quality of life because of impaired mobility and substantial loss of productivity. Although venous ulcers are typically small initially, they are often undertreated, progressing to larger ulcers that are associated with more serious complications requiring more complex treatments. In this report we detail the pathogenesis of venous ulcers together with potential complications, including exudate, erythema, cellulitis, dermatitis, pain, and possible malignancy. The clinician's regimen should always include a wide range of treatment modalities to ensure comprehensive care and effective wound closure. The treatment modalities and specific protocol for venous ulcers are discussed, and include topical dressings, antibiotics, debridement, compression therapy, and cellular therapy. These treatment modalities, in combination with early recognition and regular monitoring using digital photography and planimetry measurements, will ensure rapid healing and minimize complications and cost.

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