Gonadal Vein Embolization
Do you have chronic pelvic pain – especially during or after sexual intercourse? You may have a venous disorder called pelvic congestion syndrome, or pelvic venous disease.
This simply translates to the presence of abnormally swollen (varicose) veins in the pelvis. Pooled blood increases pressure in the pelvic area. When this is combined with increased blood flow that occurs with sexual intimacy, it further stretches the varicose veins, causing pain and tenderness. The pelvic pain may also occur after prolonged standing or just before the onset of your menstrual period.
What Is a Gonadal Vein Embolization?
The treatment for varicose veins most often involves intentionally shutting down blood flow through the malformed vein, so it can no longer enlarge with increased blood flow. This is accomplished by creating a blockage in an area of the vein – a process called embolization – so blood can naturally reroute through nearby healthy veins.
When this occurs in veins feeding the reproductive organs (in both men and women), it is called gonadal vein embolization. In women, the enlarged veins associated with pelvic congestion syndrome occur around the ovaries. So, the procedure in women might also be called ovarian vein embolization.
What to Expect
For a gonadal vein embolization, our doctors use ultrasound or X-ray fluoroscopy guidance to help guide a tiny catheter from a vein in the groin or wrist to the target veins in the pelvis.
Once the catheter is in position, there are different ways to carry out the embolization to close off the varicose veins in the pelvis and have the blood reroute through healthy veins instead. The embolic methods used may include:
- Coil embolization, or coiling, which uses small metallic coils to clot the blood in larger veins and seal the vein
- A spongy gel material, which is used to block the abnormal vein
- Foam or liquid sclerotic substances that scar smaller veins to close them
- Glue to seal the vein from the inside
Your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous activity for up to a week following a gonadal vein embolization.
Does It Work?
The vast majority – more than 85% – of women who undergo a gonadal vein embolization to treat pelvic congestion syndrome experience relief of their symptoms.
Gonadal vein embolization is a safe and effective procedure. Because it’s a minimally invasive procedure, patients enjoy a faster recovery and little to no post-procedure pain or scarring.
Treatment for Pelvic Venous Disease in South Florida
To find out more about gonadal vein embolization and other minimally invasive treatments for women’s health issues, call Florida Endovascular and Interventional at (786) 534-2555 or request an appointment now.