In a controlled randomized study on 40 patients with venous leg ulcers, monotherapy with a dry wound dressing (silver-impregnated--activated charcoal xerodressing; SIAX) was tested. The xerodressing was applied throughout the entire study and was compared with the conventional phase-adapted therapy using diverse topical modalities, e.g. as granulating ointments, zinc paste. etc. The parameters of wound healing were documented in the two randomized groups over 6 weeks and were statistically evaluated. In the statistical comparison of SIAX therapy (n = 19) and conventional therapy (n = 19) significant differences were found in favour of the SIAX group (increase of epithelialization, reduction of ulcer size; P less than 0.05). In addition, the ulcers of 6/19 patients (= 31.6%) treated with SIAX healed completely within the study period, in contrast to only 2/19 patients (= 10.5%) receiving conventional therapy. Exudate, granulation and colonization of the ulcers as well as odour, necroses, erythema and oedema of the surrounding areas were not significantly different. The study shows that a consistent therapy performed with dry wound dressings such as SIAX is superior to the conventional topical therapy of venous leg ulcers in some cases. Wound dressings provide new therapeutic modalities, being easy to apply and fully efficient, without side-effects.