Venous leg ulcers can be cured by local anaesthetic surgery. Not all of them – but a large proportion of them. Probably the majority of them. Of those that are left, some venous leg ulcers can be cured with venous stenting.

A 12 year study published from a specialist venous unit has shown 85% of venous leg ulcers cured by endovenous surgery (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22833505). What is more, surgery for venous leg ulcers has been proven to reduce the risk of them coming back again when compared with compression.

What is more, surgery for venous leg ulcers has been proven to reduce the risk of them coming back again when compared with compression (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17545185).

As such, it is not surprising that the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that anyone with a venous leg ulcer for two weeks or more, even if it is healed, should be referred to a vascular service for a venous duplex ultrasound scan (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg168/).

So why are articles still appearing in the nursing press that still only talk about compression and “holistic” approaches – and still ignore the chance of a cure?

Leg ulcer article in Nursing in Practice - missing NICE guidelines and studies into success of surgery to cure venous leg ulcers and reduce recurrence

Leg ulcer article in Nursing in Practice – missing NICE guidelines and studies into success of surgery to cure venous leg ulcers and reduce recurrence

This article published on 9 December 2016 perpetuates the idea that venous ulcers need compression and a holistic approach to the patient.

Missed opportunity to explain how to cure venous leg ulcers

However this article completely misses out any reference to the NICE clinical guidelines, to curing venous leg ulcers, to sending patients for venous duplex ultrasonography to diagnose the underlying problem.

It is little wonder that so much money is spent every year in dressing ulcers when the articles written for nurses treating these patients with venous leg ulcers fail to point out that they can be cured in a large proportion of patients.

The leg ulcer charity will continue to drive forward the education of nurses and doctors and will advise patients and carers of the new techniques which will allow a large number of venous leg ulcers, if not the majority, to be cured. Hopefully, our continued struggle will result in nurses and doctors understanding the latest research that is available helping patients to get cured and concentrating resources on those patients who cannot be cured with endovenous surgery.

Leg Ulcer Charity course at College of Phlebology 1st International Veins Meeting - London - 15-17 March 2017

Leg Ulcer Charity course at College of Phlebology 1st International Veins Meeting – London – 15-17 March 2017

The Leg Ulcer Charity will be running a 3 day course for nurses and doctors interested in treating venous leg ulcers at the College of Phlebology’s 1st International Veins Meeting in London on 15-17 March 2017 – http://www.collegeofphlebology.com/meeting2017.

References:

Nursing in Practice article without reference to NICE Guidelines or research into surgery of leg ulcers: http://www.nursinginpractice.com/article/managing-leg-ulcers-primary-care

NICE Guidelines about Varicose Veins and Venous Leg Ulcers: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg168/

85% of Venous Leg Ulcers cured by endovenous surgery: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22833505

Randomised Trial showing surgery cures ulcers and reduces risk of recurrence in future over compression: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17545185

Leg Ulcer Charity course at the College of Phlebology’s 1st International Veins Meeting, London – 15-17 March 2017 – http://www.collegeofphlebology.com/meeting2017.