Nurse observing Venous Leg Ulcer on patients leg.

Venous Leg Ulcer (VLU) Treatment

People living with chronic oedema and VLUs want to engage fully in everyday activities - without feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious about what’s on their legs and feet. 3M can help manage challenges related to VLUs.


Improving outcomes for patients living with Venous Leg Ulcers

Venous Leg Ulcers are the most common type of lower extremity wound, afflicting approximately 1% of the western population during their lifetime.1 VLUs also represent a significant burden for patients and healthcare systems.2

3M can help you manage challenges related to Venous Leg Ulcers and improve patient outcomes so that people can fully engage and participate in normal everyday activities.

  • Icon showing a foot with an VLU
    28% of patients experience 10 or more VLUs

    Resources required to manage VLUs and associated comorbidities cost the NHS £941.1 million.3

  • icon depicting a man with a drip and a warning sign
    55% recurrence rate for VLUs

    26-69% of healed VLUs reoccur within the first 12 months of closure.4

  •  icon showing cost increases
    $14.9 billion in VLU care costs

    28% of patients experience > 10 VLU episodes in their lifetime.5

Therapy goals for VLUs and the ABC model for leg ulcer management

Venous leg ulcer management includes a combination of best-practice skin and wound care principles with a therapeutic goal of reducing chronic oedema and promoting wound healing.6,7,8 In 2015, Wounds International published a simplified approach to venous leg ulcer care. The consensus document simplified the assessment and management of venous leg ulcers into three main steps, or an ABC model of care.22

  • Icon showing the letter a
    Assessment and diagnosis

    A comprehensive assessment should be taken to ascertain past medical history, current mobility, pain levels, nutrition, home and work environments, caregiver/family involvement and patient concerns.

  • Icon showing the letter b
    Best practice wound and skin management

    Reducing the pain and discomfort of VLUs includes best practice skin and wound care and managing chronic oedema, which can help in managing VLUs.

  •  Icon showing the letter c
    Compression therapy

    When sufficient pressure is applied to a patient’s calf with compression therapy, it can result in reduced venous ambulatory hypertension and venous pooling, reduced chronic oedema and inflammation, improved venous and lymphatic return, and reduced leg pain.10,11,12,13

Advanced wound care and skin integrity solutions for VLU management

Maintaining an optimal wound environment has been shown to play a key role in the promotion of wound healing. Best practice guidelines support the use of advanced skin and wound care products as important aspects of standardized wound care practices.1,2

3M's comprehensive portfolio of solutions spans the entire spectrum of advanced wound care and skin integrity needs. From dressings that can manage exudate or provide a barrier to bacterial contamination, to products that help protect your patients’ skin, 3M gives you the effective solutions and supports your wound care patients' needs to help encourage healing and help them get back to their lives.

Find solutions below based on the type of wound care application you require.

  • Icon shwowing therapeutic compression of a leg
    • Provide therapeutic compression

      The 3Mᵀᴹ Cobanᵀᴹ 2 Two-Layer Compression System provides effective compression therapy, which has been shown to contribute to effective VLU management through oedema reduction, decreased pain and improvement in a patient’s daily activities.2,14 A retrospective analysis of the records of 675 patients who had newly diagnosed venous leg ulcers compared Coban 2 Compression System to two other compression systems. Treatment with Coban 2 Compression System demonstrated better health related quality of life.15

      Learn more about managing oedema and lymphoedema

  • Male medical staff with elderly female leg patient
    For delivering high compression

    3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System
    The Coban 2 Compression System is easy to apply and remove, and delivers sustained therapeutic compression, to treat a range of conditions including venous leg ulcers and chronic oedema. Coban 2 Compression System is indicated for use with an ABPI (Ankle brachial pressure index) > or equal to 0.8 and < or equal to 1.2.

  • Coban 2 Layer Compression System 2094  Link: Redirect to the # for the moment
    For delivering reduced compression

    3M™ Coban™ 2 Lite Two-Layer Compression System
    The Coban 2 Lite Compression System is engineered to stay in place and deliver comfortable, effective, light compression for patients with ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) greater than or equal to 0.5. Or for patients that cannot tolerate high compression.

  • icon showing the a shield with a cross inside
    • Protect the skin

      Skin damage such as maceration and erythema are often associated with VLUs. Research supports the routine protection of periwound skin from excess exudate, mechanical trauma, and protection of at-risk, compromised skin as essential steps in VLU wound management and wound bed preparation.16

  • 3M™ Cavilon™ Durable Barrier Cream being applied to a patients sacral area
    Prevention of skin breakdown and for moisturising intact skin.

    3M™ Cavilon™ Durable Barrier Cream
    Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream is a concentrated, fragrance‑free moisturising barrier cream that creates an invisible, breathable barrier over the skin to moisturise and protect the skin from the irritating effects of bodily fluids.

  • 3M Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film 3343
    Routine protection of periwound skin in low risk patients.

    3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film
    Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film helps to protect skin from body fluids, adhesives and friction. The alcohol-free barrier film applies without stinging, and forms a breathable, transparent film for long-lasting protection.

  • 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant
    For managing moderate to severe skin damage or protecting intact skin in higher risk patients.

    3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant
    Cavilon Advanced Skin Protectant creates a highly durable, ultra-thin barrier that attaches to wet, weepy skin23 and lasts up to seven days23 — providing long-lasting skin protection.

  • icon showing a leg wound
    • Prepare wound bed and provide antimicrobial protection

      Wound healing starts with addressing underlying issues such as bioburden and inflammation. Effective wound management strategies may include the use of topical advanced wound care products to help address the underlying issues of bioburden and inflammation.

  • 3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Collagen Matrix with ORC and Silver
    Collagen/Oxidized Regenerated Cellulose

    3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Collagen Matrix with ORC and Silver
    In the presence of exudate, 3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Matrix transforms into a soft, conformable, biodegradable gel to provide an optimal healing environment that is conducive to granulation tissue formation, epithelialization and rapid wound healing. Using Promogran Prisma Matrix early in the management of VLUs may lead to improved success rates.19

  • 3M™ Silvercel™ Non-Adherent Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing

    3M™ Silvercel™ Non-Adherent Hydro-Alginate Antimicrobial Dressing
    3M™ Silvercel™ Non-Adherent Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing is a non-adherent, hydro-alginate dressing which provides sustained release of silver ions for up to seven days and works effectively against a broad spectrum of wound pathogens, including MRSA, MRSE and VRE.

  • icon showing a leg and a check mark
    • Optimise wound environment

      In order to maintain an optimal wound environment, it’s necessary to manage exudate and provide protection from outside contaminants while also enabling easy application and removal of dressings to facilitate healing.

  • clinician applying bandage to patient's heel and foot
    Low to high wound exudate

    3M™ Tegaderm™ Silicone Foam Dressing
    Tegaderm Silicone Foam Dressings start with a strong-yet-gentle adhesive. A unique multi-layer design absorbs and evaporates moisture away from the skin, helping reduce the potential for skin maceration. It lifts and locks fluid away from the skin, helping to promote an optimal healing environment.

  • 3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressings
    Moderate to highly exuding wounds

    3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressing
    Combines a unique wicking layer to distribute exudate throughout the dressing and absorptive polymers that absorb and retain high levels of exudate into a durable yet conformable dressing.

  •  Icon showing negetive pressure wound therapy
    • Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT)

      Based on wound assessment and clinical judgment, NPWT may be appropriate for VLU management, and 3M offers a portfolio of proven NPWT options that are indicated in the management of a variety of wounds, including venous insufficiency. Negative pressure wound therapy has been shown to be effective for patients with VLU wounds present for more than 30 days.20,*
      *npwt is not indicated for use with compression.

  • 3M™ ActiV.A.C.™ Therapy Unit with 3M™ Coban 2™ Two-Layer Compression
    Setting the standard for negative pressure wound therapy

    3M™ ActiV.A.C.™ Therapy System
    The ActiV.A.C. Therapy System is a portable NPWT device for the mobile patient, with features to help maintain the prescribed pressure at the wound site and detect leaks.

    3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy System
    V.A.C.® Therapy can help to reduce hospitalization time and the risk of complication, which in turn helps facilitate patient transitions from inpatient to outpatient care settings.

    3M™ Veraflo™ Therapy System
    Veraflo Therapy combines the benefits of V.A.C.® Therapy with automated instillation and dwell of topical wound solution to provide simulateous cleansing and granulation tissue formation.

    3M™ Veraflo™ Cleanse Choice Dressing Kit
    The Veraflo Cleanse Choice Dressing features three foam layers to provide application options for wounds with varying depths, and allows for single or duo pad application.

  • Clinician changing a dressing for Snap therapy system on a patient
    Designed to help manage wounds in challenging locations

    3M™ Snap™ Therapy System
    The Snap Therapy System is a disposable NPWT system that combines the simplicity of advanced wound dressings with the proven benefits of negative pressure wound therapy in a discreet design and allows patient mobility.

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Case study excerpt:Traumatic leg wound with venous disease using Super-Absorbent Dressing and a Two-layer Compression Wrap

  • Veraflo Case study

    An 86-year-old woman presented to the clinic for management of a trauma injury measuring over 20cm in length to the lateral right leg following a fall. Previous medical history included anaemia and hypertension. Previous treatment included various dressings, which did aid healing but did not address the underlying disease. A full assessment of the leg and ulcer indicated clear evidence of venous disease with hemosiderin staining and underlying oedema.

    The ulcer required exudate management and the limb required oedema reduction. The wound was cleansed and emollients were applied to improve the surrounding skin. 3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressing was applied to manage the exudate and the 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System to reduce the oedema. After 2 weeks, the exudate and oedema were sufficiently reduced; the dressing regimen was changed to a non-adherent dressing. The Coban 2 Layer Compression System was continued. The wound was almost healed at 12 weeks. At that point the compression system was discontinued, and a 2-layer hosiery kit was implemented with a foam dressing. The wound progressed to complete healing after 15 weeks.

    Final comments The patient reported that combination of the Kerramax Care Dressing and Coban 2 Layer Compression System was very comfortable; the low profile allowed her to continue wearing her usual footwear. The compression system did not slip during wear and was easy to remove at the weekly check-up visits. The recommended long-term management plan would be to wear compression hosiery; however, this patient declined. She did agree to continue to moisturise her skin with emollients to reduce the risk of skin breakdown.

  • Additional VLU case studies (PDF 10.9 MB)

    As with any case study, the results and outcomes should not be interpreted as a guarantee or warranty of similar results. Individual results may vary depending on the patient’s circumstances and condition.

    Patient data and photos courtesy of Robert J. Snyder, DPM, MBA, MSc, CWSP, FFPM RCPS (Glasgow), Barry University School of Public Medicine.

  • Feel confident about the VLU treatment you select for your patients. Across eight case studies published by Wounds International, the efficacy of 3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressing and 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System were evaluated.

    The products demonstrated positive clinical performance for patients with venous leg ulcers (VLUs) across different care settings.

    Read case studies (PDF, 564 KB)

Health Economics Study: Reduced VLU treatment costs observed in patients that received 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System

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Training opportunities and educational resources

Deepen your clinical expertise with training opportunities and educational resources designed especially for you.
3M webinars and archived events keep you up to date with the latest product guidelines and scientifically supported standards of care.

  •  lower limb modules
    Bitesize lower limb modules endorsed by Society of Tissue Viability

    4 x 1-hour modules including anatomy and physiology, differential diagnosis, Ankle Brachial Pressure (ABPI) and an introduction to compression therapy.

  • Increase your knowledge of lower limb disease with the Society of Tissue Viability endorsed modules available on 3M Health Care Academy. Discover online learning that’s right for you.

Application and removal guides for 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System

View or download the following resource guides to get step-by-step instructions on how to apply compression therapy for a variety of patients using the Coban 2 Compression System.

Resource guides for 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System application and removal

Download the following resource guides to get step-by-step instructions on how to apply compression therapy for a variety of patients using the Coban 2 Compression System.

VLU resources for your patients

Share the following resources with your patients to provide guidance and help answer questions regarding VLUs.

  • Patient Guide: What you should know about venous leg ulcers
    • Patient Guide: What You Should Know About Venous Leg Ulcers

      This guide provides an overview of what your patients need to know about the causes, risks, prevention, treatment and trouble signs associated with VLUs and compression therapy.

      Download the patient guide: What You Should Know About Venous Leg Ulcers (PDF 784 KB)

      Important information: Patients should consult with their healthcare provider regarding their special conditions and treatments in addition to the information provided in this guide.

Explore solutions for different conditions

  • Help your patients stay fully engaged in daily activities and enjoy their quality of life with science-based compression therapy and skin integrity solutions.

  • When pressure injuries can’t be avoided, establish a standard of care that treats the whole patient. 3M can help with solutions to support therapy goals established between you and your patients.

  • Optimal outcomes start with early treatment and consistent management of traumatic wounds. Together, we can strive to reduce preventable complications, drive toward better outcomes and, ultimately, aspire to restore patients’ lives.

  • Your patients count on you to help them stay out of the hospital and reduce the pain and discomfort caused by diabetic foot ulcers. We offer negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), advanced wound dressings, and skin integrity solutions to help your patients on their journey to healing.

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Looking for more information?

  • We are here to help! Get in touch with our customer support team for advice about our products and how to use them.

  • View our advanced wound care and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and I.V. dressings portfolios and browse our product catalogue.

  • Find Instructions for Use (IFU) to easily access documents for specific 3M Health Care products.
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Note: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a physician and product instructions for use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals.


  1. Simka M, Majewski E. The social and economic burden of venous leg ulcers: focus on the role of micronized purified flavonoid fraction adjuvant therapy. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(8):573-81.
  2. Brem H, Kirsner RS, Falanga V. Protocol for the successful management of venous ulcers. Am J Surg 2004 Jul; 188 (1A Suppl):1–8.
  3. Guest JF, Ayoub N, McIlwraith T et al. Health economic burden that different wound types impose on the UK’s National Health Service. IntWound J 2017; 14(2): 322-330. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12603.
  4. Finlayson K, et al. Predicting the likelihood of venous leg recurrence: The diagnostic accuracy of a newly developed risk assessment tool. Int Wound. 2018: 1–9.
  5. Weller C, Buchbinder R, Johnston R. Interventions for helping people adhere to compression treatments for venous leg ulceration (Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; 9.
  6. Harding K. et al. Simplifying venous leg ulcer management. Consensus recommendations. Wounds International. 2015;10–11.
  7. O’Donnell TF, Passman MA, Marston EA, et. al. Management of venous leg ulcers: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery® and the American Venous Forum. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2014; 60(2), 3S–59S.
  8. Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society. (2019). Guideline for management of wounds in patients with lower-extremity venous disease. Mt. Laurel, NJ: Autl
  9. 3M. Venous Leg Ulcer and Edema Management. 3M Medical | United States. 2022.
  10. Partsch H, Mortimer P. Compression for leg wounds. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Aug;173(2):359-69.
  11. Partsch H, Moffatt C. An overview of the science behind compression bandaging for lymphoedema and chronic oedema. Compression Therapy: A Position Document on Compression Bandaging. International Lymphoedema Framework in Association with the World Alliance for Wound and Lymphoedema Care. 2012; 12–22.
  12. Moffatt C, Partsch H, Schuren J, et al. Compression Therapy. A position document on compression bandaging. The International Lymphoedema Framework. 2012.
  13. Mosti G. Venous ulcer treatment requires inelastic compression. Phlebologie 2018. 47(01): 7–12.
  14. Mosti G, Crespi A, Mattaliano V. Comparison Between a New, Two-component Compression System With Zinc Paste Bandages for Leg Ulcer Healing: A Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Trial Monitoring Sub-bandage Pressures. Wounds. 2011 May;23(5):126-34.
  15. Guest JF, Fuller GW, Vowden P. Clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of three different compression systems in newly diagnosed venous leg ulcers in the UK. Journal of Wound Care. 2017;26(5):244–254.
  16. Bryant R. Types of Skin Damage and Differential Diagnosis. In: Bryant BA, Nix DP. In: Acute & Chronic Wounds; Current Management Concepts, 5th ED. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2016:82–108.
  17. Ceri H, Olson ME, Stremick C, Read RR, Morck D, Buret A. The Calgary Biofilm Device: new technology for rapid determination of antibiotic susceptibilities of bacterial biofilms. J Clin Microbiol. 1999; 37(6):1771–6.
  18. Johani K, Malone M, Jensen S, Gosbell I, Dickson H, Hu H, Vickery K. Microscopy visualisation confirms multi-species biofilms are ubiquitous in diabetic foot ulcers. Int Wound J. 2017 Dec;14(6):1160-1169.
  19. Cullen B. et al. Early Adoption of Collagen/ORC Therapies Improves Clinical Outcome. Paper presented, Wounds UK Harrogate, 2011
  20. Marston WA, Armstrong DG, Reyzelman AM, Kirsner RS. A multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing treatment of venous leg ulcers using mechanically versus electrically powered negative pressure wound therapy. Advances in Wound Care. 2015; 4(2):75–82.
  21. Guest JF, Gerrish A, Ayoub N, Vowden K, Vowden P. Clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of three alternative compression management systems used in the management of venous leg ulcers. Journal of Wound Care. 2015; 24(7): 300–310.
  22. Harding K, et al. Simplifying venous leg ulcer management. Consensus recommendations. Wounds International 2015.
  23. Brennan, Mary R.; Milne, Catherine T.; Agrell-Kann, Marie; Ekholm, Bruce P. Clinical Evaluation of a Skin Protectant for the Management of Incontinence Associated Dermatitis: An Open-Label, Nonrandomized, Prospective Study. J of Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing. 2017. 44(2):172-180.
  24. 3M data on file. EM-05-305812.