Pelvic congestion syndrome is a condition that may cause chronic pelvic pain. It is thought that problems associated with the veins (enlargement like varicose veins) develop in the pelvic area leading to congestion, which is a build-up of blood in the vessels. This may cause pelvic pain and other symptoms.

Ovarian Vein Embolisation Procedure

Ovarian vein embolisation can reduce the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome by blocking off the faulty veins, and they can no longer enlarge with blood.

The procedure is performed by an experienced Interventional Radiologist, in the angiography suite of the hospital.

A liquid dye (contrast medium) is injected to outline the veins so they are visible with x-ray fluoroscopy using specialised medical imaging equipment.

The specialised x-ray machine is used to take pictures as a catheter is guided from the groin vein, arm vein or neck vein, to the target veins in the lower abdomen and pelvis. Platinum coils are placed in the target faulty vein(s), sealing them. Sometimes a foaming agent may be used to cause the blood in the veins to clot. This treatment is effective in 90-95% of patients.

In the majority of people, treatment involves a left sided vein only. In some instances, both sides may need treatment.

The procedure usually takes about one hour.

Referral

Your general practitioner or gynaecologist can refer you for this procedure if they feel this is suitable for you.

Preparation

The procedure will be performed under sedation administered by an anaesthetist.

You will be instructed to fast for 6 hours prior to the procedure. However, you may take your usual medications with sips of water.

This procedure should not be performed if you are pregnant. If there is a possibility you may be pregnant, please inform your doctor.

You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.

What to expect after the procedure

Immediately after the procedure you will need to remain in bed for two hours, to ensure the groin access site has stopped bleeding and the occluding coils have embedded. After this, you will be encouraged to mobilise as tolerated.

Most patients can go home either the same day or the next day.

It is normal to have some flank and pelvic pain for up to a week. Your anaesthetist will make sure you are comfortable with suitable pain relief.

Strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for about one week.

Some people may experience discomfort during the next 1-2 menstrual cycles as the body adjusts to the changes.

Risks and Side Effects

The risks associated with this are small and include bruising at the puncture site, infection, mild back ache and nausea. These typically resolve within a week. There is a small risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast dye and an exceptionally rare chance of inadvertent migration of coils to the lungs.

Ovarian Vein Embolisation procedure is performed at certain Dr Jones & Partners clinics in Adelaide, South Australia.

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