An estimated 3 out of every 1,000 people worldwide will develop a venous leg ulcer. These wounds can be extremely painful and debilitating, and often require months or even years of treatment. However, Sun Scientific's revolutionary treatment for venous leg ulcers can dramatically improve healing times and quality of life for patients. If you are suffering from a venous leg ulcer, be sure to talk to your medical provider about these new treatment options. You may be able to see dramatic improvements in your wound healing times and quality of life.
What are Venous Leg Ulcers?
Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) are wounds that occur when the veins in your legs are not able to adequately pump blood back to your heart. This is usually a result of unmanaged Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). This can cause the blood to pool in your legs, which leads to swelling and eventually, ulceration of the skin.
Venous leg ulcers are most commonly found on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle. They can also occur on the outside of the leg or on the calf. These ulcers are typically slow to heal and can become infected easily.
VLUs are red, painful, and ooze exudate, a harmful mixture of interstitial fluid and metabolic waste.
How Are Venous Leg Ulcers Diagnosed?
Your doctor will likely start with a physical examination and ask about your medical history. They may also order tests, such as an ultrasound, to assess the condition of your veins.
The most important thing in diagnosing VLUs is understanding the underlying cause. In most cases, this will be Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).
Treatment Options for Venous Leg Ulcers
In the US, VLUs are often treated in doctor's offices or outpatient wound clinics. Patients come in once or more a week, depending on the symptoms. Most people come in because of the amount of drainage from the wound. If there is too much drainage, then they will have to come more often. There are not many treatments you can do at home, but sometimes people use visiting nurse services to reduce the number of times they have to go to a clinic.
Treatment of Venous Leg Ulcers incorporates two main principles — managing the wound and managing the underlying venous disease.
Managing the Wound
Wound management involves making sure that the wound is clean and ready for healthy tissue to regrow. It also means striking a balance of removing the harmful exudate fluid away from the wound while maintaining a moist-enough environment that can support tissue growth.
Debridement, or the removal of nonviable tissue, is occasionally performed to clear the way for new skin to grow on top of which a wound dressing is placed.
Wound dressings are materials that are used to protect the wound, keep it clean, and promote healing. They are disposable, they directly cover the wound, and are used to soak up the exudate to maintain an optimal environment.
Wound dressings are chosen depending on the clinical status of the VLU – they come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Open cell foam is the most commonly used material used for VLU.
Wound dressings should be changed at least once a week but sometimes much more often depending on the level of drainage. Your doctor may also prescribe topical medications to help manage pain, fight infection, and promote healing.
Managing the Venous Disease:
This almost always involves compression therapy, to help reduce swelling and improve circulation. Because Venous Leg Ulcers occur when there is unmanaged Chronic Venous Insufficiency underneath the skin level, the VLU treatment also must rely on proper management of these symptoms or the wound cannot heal.
While there are some surgical interventions to close off particularly unhealthy veins that are causing high venous pressure, compression therapy is the most common treatment.
Compression therapy is used to treat the underlying venous insufficiency by decreasing the diameter of the veins, which in turn increases the velocity of blood flow and decreases venous pressure. This helps reduce swelling and improve circulation.
Because of the wound dressing, typical self-applied compression stockings are not used. Compression bandages are most often used to compress ulcerated legs. They come in elastic or short-stretch materials. You roll them from your toes to your knee with just the right amount of stretch, tension, and overlap to apply a gradient compression. The application of compression bandages is an art that requires skills and training. This is why wound care is often done by professionals in clinics or by in-home nurses.
Sun Scientific Products for Wound Care and Compression
Sun Scientific has developed products that improve wound care by making it easier for patients and caregivers to apply appropriate levels of compression. The AeroBolster™ dressings and Aero-Wrap™ compression systems are meant to help with managing both the wound and the underlying venous disease.
AeroBolster Silicone Foam Dressing is a wound dressing designed specifically for the challenges of treating Venous Leg Ulcers.
AeroBolster is a wound dressing that uses a self-adherent silicone contact layer and a pre-filled Air Bolster. The silicone contact layer provides gentle self-adhesion and minimizes pain and trauma at dressing changes. This means the dressing stays in place, which allows for the self-management of wound care at home. The foam pad absorbs discharge while maintaining a moist wound bed. The proprietary Air Bolster sets AeroBolster apart from other wound dressings. When used under compression, the AeroBolster’s 3D shape redistributes pressure along the entire wound bed, providing counter-compression and stimulation of the underlying tissue.
Bolstering your wounds is believed to be particularly helpful in non-cylindrical places (such as behind the ankle bone) where compression bandages put most of their pressure on the bony prominences instead of on the soft tissue where the wounds exist.
Aero-Wrap Gradient Compression System (and Aero-Wrap™ Flex) is an easier way to effectively manage chronic leg swelling and wound care.
Aero-Wrap is the next-generation compression wrap. It is thin and flexible and has adjustable compression. It also has hook and loop straps, making it easy to apply over compression dressings or bandages.
The AeroGauge hand pump helps you set, adjust, and maintain your desired level of compression. This product doesn't rely on the art of bandaging like other compression wraps do. This makes it easier for patients to use this wrap and get the benefits of compression therapy, opening the possibility of doing more dressing changes between clinical visits.
When used together, AeroBolster (formerly PFAB) and Aero-Wrap provide superior wound care and compression for faster, more comfortable healing of venous leg ulcers and greater patient compliance:
If you or a loved one is suffering from a venous leg ulcer, there are treatments available that can help. Sun Scientific has developed products to make it easier for patients and caregivers to apply the appropriate level of compression, which is critical in healing these wounds.