Venous surgery has come a long way since Professor Mark Whiteley first established his clinic in 2001 – as has the clinic itself. Now, The Whiteley Clinic is a world-renowned medical clinic specialising in the investigation, treatment, and research into venous disease. In light of it being crowned Best Varicose Veins Treatment Clinic 2023 – UK, we got in touch with Professor Whiteley himself to explore the progression of venous surgery as well as learn more about his cutting-edge clinic.
Although venous disease is often thought to be only varicose veins or telangiectasia (spider veins), the world of venous disease, or phlebology, has moved on. The industry now investigates and treats patients with many venous problems, all over the body, from the usual varicose veins and spider veins to pelvic congestion syndrome, venous leg ulcers, venous eczema, vulval varicose veins or varicocele (varicose veins around the testicles), and the new specialty of “aesthetic phlebology” – which is the treatment of bulging or green veins on the forehead, temples, around the eyes, hands, breasts, and feet.
The treatment of venous surgery is no longer hospital-based and performed under general anaesthetic with poor medium- and long-term results. Now it is based in the likes of The Whiteley Clinic with walk-in walk-out pinhole surgery performed under local anaesthetic and providing excellent medium- and long-term results. Having been brought about by huge amounts of research and development, this makes the investigations and treatments offered by The Whiteley Clinic unique in the UK, and this is the reason the clinic is recognised as amongst the leading few venous specialist clinics in the world.
The Whiteley Clinic is highly focused on using research to gives its patients the most up-to-date and effective treatment by following The Whiteley Protocol®. This audits the clinic’s results continuously through the College of Phlebology Venous Registry to prove that its results are as good as it claims. This protocol is constantly updated as new research is performed and proven.
Professor Whiteley states, “Our commitment to research and the speed at which we incorporate it into patient treatments makes our approach unique in the UK and probably the world.”
Although aesthetic clinics can deal with small blue and green veins on the face, breasts, and hands, many find it impossible to treat very large veins that are bulging or deep – And chances are they are not part of the College of Phlebology Venous Registry, meaning none of their doctors can honestly say whether they achieve good results or not in the long-term. Professor Whiteley says, “Patients are well advised to ensure that any doctor that they consult is part of the College of phlebology venous registry so that they know that their doctor’s results are being monitored and poor results cannot be hidden.”
The Whiteley Clinic’s research concentrates on those patients who cannot be cured in these traditional aesthetic clinics. It has developed a series of new techniques which have been presented internationally and published in peer-reviewed journals, with one case being patented as a new technique. As such, this is another area of venous surgery in which The Whiteley Clinic is recognised as a world-leading facility.
Meanwhile, just like the rest of medicine, venous surgery is now personalised, but The Whiteley Clinic has been doing this for over 20 years. It has previously been thought that patients with varicose veins only have two veins that can be at fault (great saphenous vein and small saphenous vein). This has led to an idea that varicose vein treatments are “standard”. However, research has now shown that leg varicose veins come from any combination of one or more of 150 different veins in the legs and/or pelvis. As such, every patient has an individual pattern and The Whiteley Protocol® allows the clinic to identify each of these patterns, and produce a staged approach to any possible combination.
Although a fairly new area of medicine, The Whiteley Protocol® has indeed recognised the difference in venous patterns and it focuses on the personalisation of treatments to the individual’s reflux pattern. Professor Whiteley explains, “Because this is not widely understood, our treatments are very different from the normal varicose vein or leg ulcer treatments available in the UK. Whereas most doctors or clinics try to simplify treatments, we treat every individual part of the problem with the optimal results. This takes longer and requires three stages of treatment but ends up giving the lowest possible risk of recurrence and the best results for our patients.”
The Whiteley Clinic being recognised as a world-leading clinic has its perks, too, with it benefiting hugely from companies bringing to it the latest devices and techniques and allowing it to provide truly unique treatments to patients such as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). A non-invasive treatment of varicose veins, ultrasound is beamed through the skin and focused onto the vein, thus destroying it. Professor Whiteley enthuses, “It is completely revolutionary and is the next step forward from pinhole surgery.”
He goes on to say, “While pinhole surgery still requires things to be inserted into the vein such as laser catheters, radiofrequency catheters, or chemicals, HIFU is directed from outside of the body, through the skin and heating by focusing the ultrasound precisely on the vein to be treated. The Whiteley Clinic is currently the leading centre in the world for HIFU treatment of varicose veins, and has the only machine in the UK.”
Also contributing to The Whiteley Clinic’s huge success within the industry is the leadership across the business, which is based on a team approach. The clinicians are led by world-leading experts in their areas, with current research and teaching portfolios ensuring they are respected not only within the clinic but also by the wider medical community. The financial team is led by a very experienced finance manager, the technical quality team by an excellent clinical quality nurse, and the management of the clinic by a very approachable and experienced clinic manager.
The Whitely Clinic has a very flat management structure and being a medical clinic, understands the importance of interpersonal relationships. Therefore, all of the managers and staff meet regularly so any potential problems can be shared and dealt with as soon as possible. All staff and patients remark on the “family feel” to the clinic, as everybody is clear on the objectives of providing the very best care and treatment to patients.
Ultimately, it is clear to see what makes The Whiteley Clinic such a respected, award-winning name within the industry. Many other clinics will claim to strive for excellence, but The Whiteley Clinic has a proven track record of doing so. And it is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. We are truly rooting for this clinic as it continues to research and develop and strive to be better than it has ever been before.
For further information, please contact The Whiteley Clinic on www.thewhiteleyclinic.co.uk