Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
The Interventional Radiologists at MRA specialize in the treatment of a broad spectrum of venous diseases, including pelvic congestion syndrome.
What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
Pelvic congestion syndrome is the abnormal enlargement of veins in the pelvis, around the uterus and ovaries. Blood is normally returned from the pelvis to the heart through veins. These veins contain one-way valves. But when these valves are missing or damaged, blood can pool in veins of the pelvis, causing them to become enlarged. Risk factors include multiple pregnancies and higher levels of estrogen.
While up to 30% of women experience chronic pelvic pain at some point in their lives, pelvic congestion is responsible in a smaller percentage of cases.
Symptoms of pelvic congestion are typically:
- Dull, aching pain in the pelvis
- Unexplained by other causes after a pelvic examination and pap smear
- Worsens with sitting or standing, often as the day progresses
- Worsens with intercourse
- May worsen prior to menstruation, but is typically present throughout the month
- Sometimes associated with varicose veins on the skin of the pelvis or legs
An ultrasound, CT or MRI is typically required to see the dilated veins associated with pelvic congestion. Because there are many different causes for pelvic pain, our Interventional Radiologist will work directly with your Ob/Gyn physician to help diagnose the cause and develop a treatment plan.
Pelvic congestion syndrome is typically treated using a non-surgical, minimally invasive technique called Ovarian Vein Embolization. A catheter (thin, plastic tube) is inserted into a vein in the neck or groin through a tiny nick in the skin. It is navigated to the abnormal veins (ovarian veins) arising from the pelvis, using x-ray guidance. During the procedure, the diagnosis is confirmed by looking for reflux, or abnormally reversed flow in the veins. These veins are then permanently closed using a variety of materials, such as tiny coils or a sclerosing material which irritates the vein wall. Blood is then re-routed to normal healthy veins elsewhere in the body. Patients usually go home the same day. Procedure-related pain, nausea, or fevers are common for 1-3 days which can be treated with medicine at home. Overall, most patients who undergo embolization will experience a partial or complete improvement in symptoms, though it may take several weeks or months to see the full effect.
The procedure is performed using local anesthesia to numb the skin, as well as IV (intravenous) sedation, which results in a state of relaxation. You will be able to communicate and breathe on your own, but may sleep through most of the procedure and may not remember much.
Yes, the procedure is typically covered by insurance. Your out-of-pocket expense will depend on your specific insurance plan.
Request a consultation today:
One of our expert Interventional Radiologists will personally review your case with you, and discuss whether an intervention is the right option for you.
Patients, please note that services may require a referral from your primary care or another provider, but we can help facilitate that process if treatment is deemed necessary. Telehealth consultations may be available depending on the type of procedure required.