Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
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CASE REPORT Table of Contents   
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-26
Modified unna boot and pinch grafting for chronic non-healing venous leg ulcer

Department of Dermatology, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, Tamil nadu, India

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Venous ulcers cause considerable morbidity. A 45-year-old man reported with non healing ulcer since 15 years. Patch tests revealed multiple sensitivity. Infection was first controlled with antibiotics and antiseptics. Dressing with modified Unna's boot made with zinc oxide 40% and glycerine paste 60% resulted in formation of healthy granulation tissue. Pinch grafting was subsequently done to promote epithelization. We recommend the use of Unna's paste instead of more expensive synthetic and occlusive and semi occlusive dressing to promote granulation tissue and pinch grafting after bed is ready to hasten epithelization.

Keywords: Glycerine, Unna′s boot, venous ulcer, zinc oxide

How to cite this article:
Balaraju D N, Srinivas CR, Mukhi SV. Modified unna boot and pinch grafting for chronic non-healing venous leg ulcer. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 2008;1:25-6

How to cite this URL:
Balaraju D N, Srinivas CR, Mukhi SV. Modified unna boot and pinch grafting for chronic non-healing venous leg ulcer. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2008 [cited 2022 Aug 8];1:25-6. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Venous ulcers are the most common form of leg ulcers. These ulcers have perplexed the surgeons and the dermatologists alike. Although the various treatment modalities are available, none of them assures complete cure, unless the primary cause is tackled. We report a case of chronic venous leg ulcer treated with Unna boot and pinch grafting.

   Case Report Top

A 57-year-old male presented with a non-healing ulcer over the left leg of 15 years duration [Figure 1]. The ulcer was 15 x 8 cm 2 in size with irregular borders and indurated base. Lipodermatosclerosis was seen in the surrounding skin. Doppler study revealed venous insufficiency, incompetent perforators in the mid-thigh and sapheno-femoral reflux.

Patch test with Indian standard series and interpreted as recommended by International c0 ontact d0 ermatitis r0 esearch group (ICDRG), was positive for potassium dichromate, neomycin sulphate, formaldehyde, parabens, colophony, propylene glycol, mercapto-mix, epoxy resin, fragrance mix, nitrofurozone, balsam of Peru, thiuram mix, chinoform and black rubber mix.

Investigations such as complete blood picture and urine routine were within normal limits.

Patient was treated with antibiotics based on culture and sensitivity report and daily dressing of ulcer with saline and povidone iodine, till the infection was controlled. The modified Unna boot, made with moist 40% zinc oxide and 60% glycerin paste was spread over a gauze pad and was applied directly over the wound. Above this a roller gauze pad was placed and pressure reinforced with elasto-crepe bandage. This was kept in place for 7 days, removed and re-applied. One week later base was seen covered with healthy granulation tissue and pinch grafting was done by a standard method. [1] Eight pinches were taken from the right thigh and placed over the ulcer [Figure 2]. All the grafts survived and ulcer healed after 6 weeks [Figure 3].

   Discussion Top

Principles of management of chronic venous leg ulcers include reduction of oedema, alleviation of pain, healing of ulcers, improvement of lipodermatosclerosis and prevention of recurrence. [2] Bed rest and leg elevation reduces the oedema and speeds up healing in venous stasis ulcer. Multiple positivity to patch test is well known in chronic leg ulcers. [3] Compression remains the cornerstone of therapy for patients with more advanced venous ulcers. In-elastic rigid bandages are ideal in acute phase, as they mostly act as a support system. The bandage exerts minimum pressure at rest and pressure increases with muscle contraction. The prototype of this bandage is the traditional Unna boot, moist zinc impregnated paste bandage using zinc oxide and gelatin. [4] Unna boot also reduces pain. [5] We used a modified Unna boot using 40% zinc oxide and 60% glycerin paste, since gelatin gets solidified immediately and is difficult to transport it from pharmacy to bed side. Patients with a larger wound area, greater duration of wound, history of venous ligature, venous stripping and history of hip or knee replacement are the best candidates for compression therapy with Unna boot. [2]

Pinch grafting is the first option, as it is a simple, effective and can be performed in the office. [6] Skin grafting should be considered in large and refractory leg ulcers.

We report this case as we combined the traditional Unna boot which is not commonly practiced nowadays and pinch grafting which is a simple effective surgery to rapidly rehabilitate the patient.

   References Top

1.Ghall AP. Pinch skin grafting for non-healing ulcers. In : Vinay Saraf, editor. ADSI'S manual of Dermatologic Surgery; 1999. p. 272.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Isabel CV, Anna F, Robert SK, William HE. Chronic venous insufficiency and venous leg ulceration. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44:401-21.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Ryon TJ, Burnond K, Diseases of the veins and leg ulcers. In : Champion RH, Burtn JL, Ebling FJ, editors. Text book of Dermatology. 5 th ed. London: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1992. p. 1999-2000.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Sulzberger MR, Jack W, Alfred WK. Unna-Zinc gelatin boot. In : Dermatology Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia : W. B. Saunders; 1961. p. 185-7.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Pieper B, Rossi R, Templin T. Pain associated with venous ulcers in injecting drug users. Ostomy Wound Manage 1998;44:54-8,60-7.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  
6.Picascia DD, Roenigk HH, Surgical management of leg ulcers. Dermatol Clin 1987;5:303 -12.  Back to cited text no. 6    

Correspondence Address:
Chakravarthi R Srinivas
Department of Dermatology, PSG Hospitals, Peelamedu, Coimbatore - 641 004, Tamil nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-2077.41155

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

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