Nurse observing Venous Leg Ulcer on patients leg.

Venous Leg Ulcer (VLU) Treatment

People living with chronic edema 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 manage challenges related to VLUs and help 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

    During their lifetime, 28% of patients experience 10 or more VLU episodes.³

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

    Approximately 55% of healed VLUs reoccur within 12 months of closure.⁴

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

    The annual cost to treat VLUs in the U.S. is estimated to be $14.9 billion.⁵

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

VLU management includes a combination of best-practice skin and wound care principles with a therapeutic goal of reducing chronic edema and promoting wound healing.⁶⁻⁸ In 2015, Wounds International published a simplified approach to VLU care. The consensus document simplified the assessment and management of venous leg ulcers into three main steps, or an ABC model of care.⁹

  • 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 edema, 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 edema and inflammation, improved venous and lymphatic return, and reduced leg pain.¹⁰⁻¹³

Advanced wound care and skin integrity solutions for VLU management

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 support your wound care patients need to 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 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System provides effective compression therapy, which has been shown to contribute to effective VLU management through edema reduction, decreased pain and improvement in a patient’s daily activities.²,¹⁴ A retrospective analysis of the records of 600 patients who had newly diagnosed VLUs compared Coban 2 Compression System to two other compression systems. Treatment with Coban 2 Compression System demonstrated better health related to quality of life.¹⁵

  • Male medical staff with elderly female leg patient
    For lower extremities

    Normal Compression

    3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System
    The 3M™ Coban™ 2 Compression System is easy to apply and remove, and provides effective compression therapy for patients with ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) greater than or equal to 0.8. Effective compression has shown to reduce edema, decrease pain, and improve a patient’s daily activities.

  • Coban 2 Layer Compression System 2094
    For upper extremities

    Lite Compression

    3M™ Coban™ 2 Lite Two-Layer Compression System
    The 3M™ Coban™ 2 Lite Two-Layer Compression System is engineered to stay in place and deliver comfortable, effective, modified light therapeutic compression (25-30 mmHg) 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

      NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and safety information exist for these products and therapies, some of which may be Rx only. Please consult a clinician and product instruction for use prior to application.

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


    3M™ Cavilon™ Durable Barrier Cream
    This concentrated barrier cream provides durable, long-lasting moisture barrier protection while moisturizing
    the skin.

  • 3M Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film 3343, retouched image to show new packaging with Peel,
    Routine protection of periwound skin in low risk patients

    Protect Intact Skin

    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.

  • clinician applying BlastX™ Antimicrobial Wound Gel to patient
    For managing moderate to severe skin damage or protecting intact skin in higher risk patients

    Protect At-Risk Skin

    3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant
    Cavilon Advanced Skin Protectant creates a highly durable, ultra-thin barrier that attaches to wet, weepy skin¹⁷ and lasts up to seven days¹⁸ — 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.

      NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product Instructions for Use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals.

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

    Manage Inflammation

    3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Collagen Matrix with ORC and Silver

    In the presence of exudate, Promogran Prisma Matrix transforms into a soft, conformable, biodegradable gel. Promogran Prisma Matrix can be used prior to applying a skin graft (or equivalent) to prepare the wound and help optimize the moist wound environment, and promote granulation.¹⁹,²⁰ Using Promogran Prisma Matrix early in the management of VLUs may lead to improved success rates.¹⁹

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

    Manage Infection

    3M™ Silvercel™ Non-Adherent Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing

    Silvercel Non-Adherent Dressing is a non-adherent, hydro-alginate dressing providing sustained release of silver ions for up to seven days²¹ and works effectively against a broad spectrum of wound pathogens, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).²²

  • icon showing a leg and a check mark

    Optimize 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 and accelerate healing.

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

    Foam Dressings

    3M™ Tegaderm™ Silicone Foam Dressing

    Featuring 3M’s innovative silicone adhesive technology in a 5-layer foam dressing, the Tegaderm Silicone Foam Dressing is suitable for use on fragile skin and with compression therapy. Unique multi-layer design absorbs and evaporate moisture away from the skin’s surface, helping to minimize wound maceration and to maintain moisture balance for optimal wound healing.

  • 3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressings, Super-absorbent dressing
    High to very high exuding wounds

    Super-Absorbent Wound Dressings

    3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressing

    Offers an advanced method of absorbing exudate from wounds utilizing Exu-Safe™ Technology built into the dressing core. This super-absorbent core absorbs and retains moderate to high levels of fluid away from the wound bed – including bacteria and MMPs – protecting delicate wound tissue and surrounding skin while helping to reduce the risk of maceration.

  • 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 for the management of venous insufficiency ulcers. Negative pressure wound therapy has been shown to be effective for patients with VLU wounds present for more than 30 days.²³

      NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product Instructions for Use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals. Rx only.

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

    Traditional NPWT

    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 programmed pressure at the wound site and detect leaks.

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

    • 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy
    • 3M™ Veraflo™ Therapy
    • 3M™ AbThera™ Therapy
    • 3M™ Prevena™ Therapy

    3M™ Veraflo™ Therapy System
    Veraflo Therapy combines the benefits of NPWT with automated instillation and dwell of topical wound solution to provide simultaneous cleansing and granulation tissue formation.

    3M™ Veraflo™ Cleanse Choice Complete™ Dressing Kit
    The Veraflo Cleanse Choice Complete Dressing Kit features a uniquely combined single layer foam that offers more versatility in dressing application, along with the gentle skin-friendly strength of the 3M™ Dermatac™ Drape. This powerful combination makes the dressing application and initiation of Veraflo Therapy easier than ever.

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

    Single-use NPWT

    3M™ Snap™ Therapy System
    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 that allows patient mobility.

Case study excerpt: Wound Management of Venous Leg Ulcers in the Right Lower Extremity Using Super-Absorbent Dressing and a Two-layer Compression Wrap

  • 3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Collagen Matrix with ORC and Silver

    A 68-year-old male was diagnosed with lymphedema and multiple copiously draining ulcerations on his right leg that were present for years and failed to respond to compression, foam dressings, or abdominal pads. After one month of treatment using the 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System, along with the 3M™ Kerramax Care Super-Absorbent Dressing, the ulcer healed and the edema was almost completely resolved.

    Figure A: Right leg venous leg ulcer at presentation.

    Figure B & C: One week after application of Kerramax Care Super-Absorbent Dressing along with Coban 2 Two-Layer Compression System.
    B. Drainage was incorporated in the dressing.
    C. The wound surface was dry to the touch.
    Figure D: Lower extremity 1 month after Kerramax Care Super-Absorbent Dressing along with Coban 2 Compression System use.

    The wound was treated with sharp debridement, Kerramax Care Super-Absorbent Dressing, Coban 2 Two-Layer Compression System, 3M™ Kerracel™ Ag Gelling Fiber Dressing, support garment, and daily use of pneumatic compression after ulcer healed.

  • 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.


    View More: International Case Studies: 3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressing and 3M™ Coban™ 2 Two-Layer Compression System

images left to right show: a pressure injury on adult heel, transparent film dressing on an infant hand, a patient with venous leg ulcer, a patient with diabetic foot ulcer.

Need help finding a wound care solution
in the care for your patients?

The 3M Wound Therapy Guide can help assist you in selecting a wound care solution for your patient based on the attributes and treatment objectives you choose. This guide is intended for use by clinicians in the United States for outpatient care.*

You may also view all treatment approaches without specific recommendations.

View References

NOTE: Specific indications, warning, precautions and safety information exist for all 3M products and therapies. Prior to use of any medical device, it is important for
the provider to consult the treating physician and read and understand all Instructions for Use, including Safety Information, Application Instructions, and Therapy
Device Instructions.

*Wound care product options are generated based on the application, preferences and wound characteristics selected. Other 3M products may also be suitable/available. It is
up to each clinician to assess whether any product will meet their wound care objectives. Any product identified through this guide is not intended to promote compatibility or
convey combined use unless expressly indicated, or intended to substitute for clinicians’ clinical judgment.

3M does not make any claims that its products prevent, treat, or reduce the incidence of infection. For specific 3M products, please refer to the Instructions for Use.

Selection aid results to be used in conjunction with good clinical practice; utilize appropriate debridement and/or antibiotics where necessary. Untreated osteomyelitis
is contraindicated for use with 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy. 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant is compatible with 3M acrylic negative pressure drapes.

1. Reproduced from WoundSource ( © 2021 HMP Global, Inc. Used with permission.
2. Reproduced from Scottsdale Wound Management Guide ( © 2021 HMP Global, Inc. Used with permission.

© 2023 3M. All rights reserved. 3M and the other marks shown are marks and/or registered marks. Unauthorized use prohibited.

Clinical Case: Increased VLU healing rates observed in patients that received Coban 2 Two-Layer Compression System

  • Venous Leg Ulcer Healing Rate Chart

    In two large, well-controlled, retrospective analyses comparing the Coban 2 Two-Layer Compression System to two other compression systems, the Coban 2 Two-Layer Compression System demonstrated increased healing rates with a reduction
    in patient management costs.¹⁵,²⁴

Training opportunities and VLU educational resources

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

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

Download the following resource guides to get step-by-step instructions on how to apply VLU compression therapy for a variety of patients using the Coban 2 Two-Layer 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 VLUs

    • 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, 777 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.
Clinician helping patient with physical therapy while using 3M™ V.A.C.® Via Therapy System

Choose the offloading care plan that’s right for your patient

Selecting an appropriate offloading care plan or device is dependent on a patient’s assessment, functional status, wound condition and frequency of reassessment. We can help you determine what products fit best for each patient’s unique situation.


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.

    Learn more about managing edema and lymphedema

  • 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.

    Learn more about managing pressure injuries

  • 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.

    Learn more about managing traumatic wounds

  • 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 NPWT, advanced wound dressings, and skin integrity solutions to help your patients on their journey to healing.

    Learn more about managing diabetic foot ulcers

Looking for more information?

  • 3M is committed to providing customer service, including product reimbursement education and resources, to clinical providers and healthcare facilities that use qualified 3M products.

  • 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 products and NPWT product portfolio and browse our product catalog.

  • Find Instructions for Use (IFU) to easily access documents for specific 3M Health Care products.

  • References

    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. 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.

    4. Finlayson KJ, Parker CN, Miller C, Gibb M, Kapp S, Ogrin R, Anderson J, Coleman K, Smith D, Edwards HE. Predicting the likelihood of venous leg ulcer recurrence: The diagnostic accuracy of a newly developed risk assessment tool. Int Wound J. 2018 Oct;15(5):686-694.

    5. Rice JB, Desai U, Cummings AK, Birnbaum HG, Skornicki M, Parsons N. Burden of venous leg ulcers in the United States. J Med Econ. 2014 May;17(5):347-56.

    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: Author.

    9. Harding K. Challenging passivity in venous leg ulcer care — the ABC model of management. Int Wound J. 2016; doi: 10.;1111/iwj.1260

    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. 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.

    18. 3M Data on File. EM-05-013924.

    19. Weidenhagen R. Clinical experience with PROMOGRAN PRISMA. Poster presented at EWMA, Helsinki, 20072.

    20. Gottrup F, Cullen B, Karlsmark T, Bischoff-Mikkelsen M, Nisbet L, Gibson M. Randomized controlled trial on collagen/oxidized regenerated cellulose /silver treatment. Wound Repair & Regeneration 2013; 21: 1-10

    21. Clark R, Stephens SA, Del Bono M, Abioye O, Bayliff S. The evaluation of absorbent silver containing dressings in vitro. Poster presented at: Wounds UK International Conference; November 10-12, 2009; Harrogate, UK

    22. Clark, R. and Bradbury, S. SILVERCEL™ NON ADHERENT Made Easy. Wounds International Vol. 1(5) 2010.

    23. 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.

    24. 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.