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Research Into Varicose Vein Treatments


The Whiteley Clinic has an international reputation for excellence in research and we ensure that any new developments or discoveries are reported straight to our patients as soon as our research has confirmed any benefits.

How research is implemented into treatment – The Whiteley Protocol®

Research at The Whiteley Clinic is directed at understanding how veins work, what goes wrong with them, venous disease, and how techniques that we use affect the veins that we treat.

We look at the way veins are investigated and treated, and perform research studies to sort out how each of these areas can be improved. In addition, we take all of the new devices and techniques that are introduced to treat veins and we perform research studies on them, finding out which ones work and which ones do not. For those devices and techniques that do work, we research how they can be used most effectively and in what sort of veins they work best. Interestingly there is not a single technique that can treat all the different things that can go wrong in the leg – hence my favourite saying from Maslow “If you only have a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail”!

The research projects performed by the researchers at The Whiteley Clinic under the guidance and supervision of Prof Mark Whiteley formed the basis of The Whiteley Protocol®. Our protocol is the way that doctors, nurses, and vascular scientists at The Whiteley Clinic assess and treat all patients with venous disease to get the very best results available, no matter who is performing the investigation or treatment. All of the healthcare professionals at The Whiteley Clinic are trained in The Whiteley Protocol® and this ensures the uniformity of excellent results in all of our clinics.

With the constant stream of information from our ongoing research studies, The Whiteley Protocol® is constantly updated, ensuring that any new developments or discoveries are reported straight to our patients as soon as our research has confirmed any benefits. This constant updating is one of the main reasons why no one outside of The Whiteley Clinic is able to offer The Whiteley Protocol®.


Talks and presentations

As part of our commitment to increasing the understanding of the public about varicose veins, thread veins, leg ulcers, and other venous disease, including the latest and best ways of treating them, we are happy to provide specialists to give talks or presentations to groups of interested people.

If you would like to ask for a specialist to attend a meeting and give a talk or presentation, please contact us on [email protected] with details of the meeting, audience and subject matter in which that you would be most interested.


During the course of our research, we often look for volunteers to either have procedures performed or who are happy to give their thoughts and opinions. Often patients will be approached during their investigations and treatments at The Whiteley Clinic if there is an ongoing research study. However, sometimes we need to recruit patients or subjects from outside of our clinic. When such studies become available, they are advertised on our website as a call for volunteers.

History of our Research

Up until the end of the 1990s, varicose veins and other venous conditions were either ignored, patients were told it was “just a cosmetic problem”, or were treated with open surgical tying and stripping, which has been shown to be inadequate in the majority of cases. In March 1999, Mark Whiteley introduced endovenous surgery into the UK by performing the first radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins. This new approach stimulated an explosion of different endovenous techniques and revived interest in varicose vein surgery and other venous surgery including treatments for leg ulcers, thread veins, and the other venous conditions such as venous eczema, phlebitis, aching legs etc.

However, as with all areas where technology is rapidly progressing, not everything that is invented or promoted to patients through newspapers and magazine articles actually work as well as other techniques. It is only through research that we can identify how best to choose which veins need treatment, and to choose which treatments work most effectively in different vein problems.

In 1999, Mark Whiteley started researching how the endovenous techniques were working, and started finding new ways to improve the early techniques. This resulted in the invention of the TRLOP operation to close perforator veins by Mark Whiteley and Judy Holdstock in 2001 and has led to a host of other research studies from The Whiteley Clinic subsequently.