18 years ago today, varicose vein surgery changed forever in the UK.
Before 12th March 1999, varicose veins in the UK were treated by “open surgery” – also called “stripping”. This has been shown to cause varicose veins to grow back again in the medium to long term (see here).
This all changed when Mark Whiteley and Judy Holdstock performed the first endovenous operation for varicose veins in the UK. They did this in Guildford on 12th March 1999.
They used radiofrequency ablation (VNUS Closure) as this was what was available at that time.
The patient had one leg treated and, when checked 17 years later, the veins had not come back again. Interestingly she did have new varicose veins on the other leg. These were treated with our new version of endovenous surgery under local anaesthetic.
Mark Whiteley spent many years fighting the medical community to champion endovenous surgery. Initially, there was very little support. However, after Mark and Judy had performed 1,000 endovenous procedures, other doctors started realising the advantages of these techniques. Endovenous surgery is mainly endovenous laser, radiofrequency and foam sclerotherapy.
You only have to look up the internet to see how many doctors claim to have started endovenous surgery (laser or radiofrequency) in 2001 or 2003, years after Mark and Judy had actually done the first!
Endovenous surgery, laser (EVLA), radiofrequency (RFA) and foam sclerotherapy, have been the NICE recommended treatments since July 2013 (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg168/).
At The Whiteley Clinic, we have been treating our patients this way since 1999, pre-dating the NICE guidelines by some 14 years. Our continued research into perforators and pelvic varicose veins will be recognised by others in the future in the same way.
Our research led Whiteley Protocol is how we ensure that all of our patients get the very best available treatment for varicose veins, with the very lowest recurrence rates.