In a word – no. The Whiteley Protocol® is more than just a procedure or a way of doing a technique. It is a whole approach to how vein should be investigated and how the correct treatment or combination of treatments should be selected to give the optimal result in each individual patient.
On the Internet and in magazines, many doctors, clinics and hospitals are offering endovenous laser ablation (EVLA or EVLT®). In a great many cases, this is being used in isolation with no other endovenous techniques. The Whiteley Protocol® requires that endovenous laser ablation is only used (EVLA or EVLT®) in patients veins where it is the optimal treatment. Therefore The Whiteley Protocol® should not be confused with someone or some entity offering endovenous laser ablation (EVLA or EVLT®).
As with endovenous laser ablation, many doctors, clinics and hospitals are offering radiofrequency ablation (RFA or VNUS® Closure®. In a great many cases, this is being used in isolation with no other endovenous techniques. The Whiteley Protocol® requires that radiofrequency ablation (RFA or VNUS® Closure®) in patients veins where it is the optimal treatment. Therefore The Whiteley Protocol® should not be confused with someone or some entity offering radiofrequency ablation (RFA or VNUS® Closure®).
Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy can be very useful in a very small subset of patients or as an adjuvant treatment along with endovenous laser ablation or radiofrequency ablation. Doctors, clinics or hospitals offering ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy as a total cure for varicose veins are definitely not using The Whiteley Protocol® as our research has shown this will be inadequate treatment in many patients.
The Whiteley Protocol® uses local anaesthetic, walk-in walkout surgery for its treatments. It only allows general anaesthetic very rarely in patients who are needle phobic or who request general anaesthetic for other reasons. In all cases patients are warned that this is not the optimal way of performing vein surgery in our experience and that there are additional risks likely as well as additional costs from having a general anaesthetic for vein treatment.
Never. The Whiteley clinic research has shown vein stripping to be a substandard technique and this is never offered to any patient treated by The Whiteley Protocol®.
Yes. The Whiteley Protocol® is an evolving method of assessing and treating venous disease. As our research and audit gives us better and better understanding, and as new techniques and devices to treat veins appear, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, The Whiteley Protocol® will grow to include those approaches or techniques that are optimal.
No. It is very rarely the same for any to patients. As each individual person has individual venous problems, the choice of techniques and order of those techniques varies. Factors that need to be taken into account are which veins are causing a problem, whether there has been previous surgery, the diameter of the veins, any scar tissue in the wall all the lumen of the veins, how straight the veins are, whether pelvic veins are involved, whether perforating veins are involved as well as the general health of the patient themselves.
It is our belief that one of the reasons that vein surgery has often been performed so badly in the past (and is frequently still performed the same way today) is that doctors treating people with varicose veins often assume that they have the same pattern of abnormal veins. The huge number of patients they get recurrences from this old style approach to venous surgery is testimony to how wrong this approach is.
The Whiteley Protocol® is not a set procedure, or series of procedures. It is a method of tailoring the best treatment or series of treatments to a patients veins. As such costs will vary widely from patient to patient depending on their venous problem. This can never be predicted from a photograph or examining a leg externally. Therefore all patients undergo examination and an in-depth venous duplex ultrasound scan using high resolution equipment by a Whiteley clinic trained vascular scientist. This will then allow us to determine the extent of the venous problem and, using The Whiteley Protocol®, to identify the optimal treatment. Once this has been identified, the price can be easily calculated.
Once again this depends on which procedure or series of procedures are required. One of the major developments over the last decade in vein surgery has been the understanding that it is almost impossible to get the full treatment of venous reflux disease in one session. Rarely, a patient is lucky enough to have very simple venous reflux that can be cured in one treatment. However it is much more common that one procedure is performed first, to take the underlying problem away, and then and of variable length of time afterwards, further procedures are performed dictated by The Whiteley Protocol® to keep treating the veins as they start regressing to get the optimal end result. In some patients with severe vein problems, or who have had previous stripping type surgery, and who want to get optimal cosmetic result, the whole treatment can sometimes go on for months and on rare occasions even into years.
At the moment only doctors were working at the Whiteley clinic are trained in, and kept up-to-date in, The Whiteley Protocol®. Some doctors do come to train in our techniques via the courses run by The Clinical Exchange. We hope that as venous surgery progresses around the world, and more doctors start specialising in this exciting area, we will be able to train more doctors in The Whiteley Protocol® land they will be interested enough to maintain contact with us to be updated as the protocol changes so that The Whiteley Protocol® may be available elsewhere. If and when this occurs, it will be announced on this website.