Introduction: The investigation and treatment of chronic venous ulceration continues to present many difficulties for the clinician. The uncertainties relate to the appropriate use of different forms of investigation and whether conservative treatment or surgical treatment should be used.
Method: A comprehensive search was undertaken of published literature on venous ulceration.
Results: The extent of investigations is largely determined by the type of treatment that the patient is either fit to undertake or is prepared to undertake. When conservative treatment only is to be used, detailed investigation of the venous system is not required. The role of surgery to the veins remains unproven in improving the healing of venous ulcers. Surgery to prevent ulcer recurrence has been demonstrated to be of benefit only in patients who have normal deep veins.
Conclusions: Investigations performed on the venous system should be determined by the planned treatment. Many of the operations that have been performed on the venous system still remain unproven in providing a benefit to the healing of venous ulcers and in preventing venous ulcer recurrence.