Pelvic vein embolisation

Pelvic vein embolisation is used to treat pelvic congestion syndrome (sometimes known as ovarian vein reflux), a condition caused by varicose veins deep within the pelvic and lower abdominal area.

Pelvic congestion syndrome

Unlike varicose veins on the legs, these veins aren’t visible at skin level as they’re located internally but they can cause a range of symptoms, including chronic abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating and IBS-like symptoms, lower back pain plus pain during or after intercourse. Because the symptoms can be vague and overlap with a number of more common conditions, pelvic congestion syndrome is often misdiagnosed, which can be very distressing and frustrating for those affected.

Treatments

The good news is, treatment can help. Pelvic vein emobilsation is a minimally invasive technique usually carried out with local anaesthetic (although mild sedation can also be used if required). The procedure takes up to an hour and involves a catheter being inserted into the affected vein, usually via the groin or neck. This is done with a needle so there will only be a tiny incision that doesn’t require stitches. An X-ray is used to help guide the catheter to the area that needs to be treated. Once there, a solution will be administered to the affected area which will seal off the vein and cause it to shrink.

Aftercare

You can usually go home shortly afterwards (you’ll need somebody else to take you home if sedation was used) and although there’s usually some soreness initially, you should be able to return to work and regular daily activities after a day or two. Your consultant will advise on when it’s sensible to return to more strenuous activities, and any other aftercare advice.

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