How the Cleator Clinic started
Iain Cleator was born in Edinburgh, Scotland at the outbreak of WWll, and attended George Watson's College. In 1956 he attended Edinburgh University and graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1962 and went on to specialize in general surgery. In 1972 he came to Canada and joined UBC as a tenure track assistant professor of surgery becoming a full professor in 1986. In 2005 he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Surgery UBC and was teaching for another 3 years at UBC as Block Chair for the Gastro-Intestinal Problem Oriented Learning in 2nd year medicine and dentistry. He was president of the Canadian Association of Gastro-enterology and gave a lecture on a proposed method of two tier screening for colo-rectal cancer in 1990 at the World Congress of Gastroenterology in Sidney in 1990.
His interests in surgery were in the gastro-intestinal area and he saw a lot of haemorrhoids as well as colo-rectal cancer over the years. An interest for many years is the early detection of colo-rectal cancer and over the years he and his laboratory director Mihaela Cleator, who is a medical graduate of the University of Medicine and Pharmacology Timisoara, Romania, developed a method of testing for human blood in the stool in the lab.
In 2002 the methods for treating haemorrhoids were surgery, injection and later banding. All the methods were unsatisfactory to a greater or lesser extent. Surgery often required inpatient treatment and was painful and not always as successful as one could have hoped. Injection was effective in some but there could be troublesome complications. Banding was effective but the instruments available needed dismantling and sterilization between cases and sometimes were not assembled correctly and more than one kit required opening and an assistant was required.
In 1995 he saw the first disposable ligator invented by Dr. O’Regan, but the instrument was not yet perfected and the amount of tissue banded less than ideal, so he did not use it on a regular basis.
In September 2002, he had almost completed 40 years of busy surgical practice when Mr. Marc Morin introduced him to the improved O'Regan ligator that had now been combined with a proctoscope. This worked like a dream and was relatively painless, a one time use disposable instrument and could be used without an assistant.
He immediately founded the Cleator Clinic on West Broadway and moved there in January 2003. The purpose was to provide a prompt service for patients with haemorrhoids. The location is central, and the office is busy and well accepted and successful from the word go. The patient is referred from his or her general practitioner, a history obtained and an examination performed as well as inspection with a sigmoidoscope of the lower few inches of the bowel. If haemorrhoids alone are the problem then a first band is applied followed by two other bands in successive weeks. Then an appointment is made three weeks later to make sure all is well and if necessary to tidy up any skin tags remaining under a local anaesthetic. A test card is given to check that there is no continued bleeding, and if this is negative and there are no other problems, the patient discharged back to the care of the family doctor with advice on increased soluble fibre and water intake. Other advice on good bowel habits is also given. If there is a suspicion of cancer or other disease then further tests may be arranged with another specialist.
Dr. Cleator and his team have performed over 60,000 bandings.