Ovarian Vein Embolization

Ovarian Vein Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome, a painful condition resulting from the presence of enlarged or varicose veins in the pelvis. It helps relieve pain by using imaging guidance and a catheter to close off faulty veins so they can no longer enlarge with blood. Embolization is a highly effective way of controlling bleeding and much less invasive than open surgery.

What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome, also known as ovarian vein reflux, is a painful condition resulting from the presence of varicose veins in the pelvis. The condition is caused by valves in the veins that help return blood to the heart against gravity, becoming weakened and not closing properly, allowing blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein causing pressure and bulging veins. Diagnosis of the condition is done through one of several methods: pelvic venography, magnetic resonance imaging and pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Using X-ray imaging and a contrast material to visualize the blood vessel, the interventional radiologist inserts a catheter through the skin into a blood vessel and advances it to the treatment site. A synthetic material or medication called an embolic agent is then inserted through the catheter and positioned within the blood vessel or malformation where it will remain either permanently or temporarily.

During this procedure, an interventional radiologist inserts a catheter up the femoral vein and into the faulty vein(s). Catheterization requires only a small nick in the skin for insertion and X-ray image guidance of the catheter to its target area. The catheter delivers Dacron filaments-bearing coils that clot the blood and close off faulty veins so they can no longer enlarge, thus relieving the pain. The use of the recently developed Sotradecol foam agent allows the radiologist to block even the smallest veins not previously accessible

Temporary embolic agents block blood vessels long enough to allow the body to heal on its own. Permanent embolic agents physically plug-up blood vessels and cause scar tissue to form in the vessel. This is important in treating conditions such as arteriovenous malformations and tumors, which would recur if the embolic agent dissolved.

How to Prepare for the Procedure

Discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, allergies and medications you’re taking, including herbal supplements and aspirin with your Envita IR Physician.

Stop taking aspirin and vitamin E at least five days before the procedure.

You may be advised to stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or blood thinners several days prior to your procedure.

You should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure.

However, you may take your routine medications with sips of water. If you are diabetic and take insulin, you should talk to your doctor as your usual insulin dose may need to be adjusted.

Prior to your procedure, your blood may be tested to determine how well your kidneys are functioning and whether your blood clots normally.

Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Arrange for someone to drive you home following the procedure.

The Day of Your Procedure

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.

Take all your usual prescriptions. Do not skip them unless instructed by your Envita IR Physician.

You will be admitted to the Envita IR Clinic on the morning of your procedure and be assessed by the interventional radiologist before the procedure begins.

Prior to your procedure, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be performed.

During the Procedure

You will be positioned on the procedure table.

You may be connected to monitors that track your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and pulse.

A nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm to administer a sedative. This procedure may use moderate sedation. It does not require a breathing tube. However, some patients may require general anesthesia.

The area of your body where the catheter is to be inserted will be sterilized and covered with a surgical drape.

A very small skin incision is made at the site.

Using image-guidance, a catheter (a long, thin, hollow plastic tube) is inserted through the skin to the treatment site.

A contrast material then is injected through your IV and a series of X-rays are taken to locate the exact site of bleeding or abnormality. The medication or embolic agent is then injected through the catheter. Additional angiograms are taken to ensure the embolic agent is correctly positioned and that any bleeding is controlled.

When the procedure is complete, the catheter is removed and pressure is applied to stop any bleeding. Sometimes, your doctor may use a closure device to seal the small hole in the artery. This will allow you to move around more quickly. No stitches are visible on the skin. The tiny opening in the skin is covered with a dressing.

Your IV line is removed before you go home.

The length of the procedure varies from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the complexity of the condition.

What to Expect When you Get Home?

The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The patient may require mild oral pain medications for relief of discomfort after the procedure. Pain is most significant during the first three days.

In some cases, a hematoma around the puncture site may appear. This is quite normal, but if it becomes a large bruise then there may be a risk of it getting infected (less than 1% of cases) in which case you may require antibiotics.

Most women resume light activities two to three days after the procedure and most patients are able to resume their normal level of activity in five to ten days.

It is usual for patients to experience some pelvic cramps following the embolization for a few days, but this will gradually improve after the first 24 hours and can usually be controlled with pain relief medication.

What are the Risks?

There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected.

Any procedure that places a catheter inside a blood vessel carries certain risks. These risks include damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection. The doctor will take precautions to mitigate these risks.

There is always a chance that an embolic agent can lodge in the wrong place and deprive normal tissue of its oxygen supply.

There is a risk of infection after embolization, even if an antibiotic has been given.

In very rare circumstances (1% of cases) one of the coils may dislodge and move to another location during the procedure or at a later date. Removing the coil may quickly correct this.

Contact your Envita Physician if you have any signs of infection.

Envita’s Promise

EnvitaIR™ is comprised of an expert team of interventional oncologists who are among the most qualified in the country at the combination of conventional and natural medicine. We wish to offer you the most sophisticated and advanced medical techniques that science has to offer combined with holistic and supportive natural medicine to target your whole healthcare needs. If you have any further questions or concerns about the Ovarian Vein Embolization procedure, please do not hesitate to ask your Envita nurse or Physician for further clarification.

Why You Should Choose Envita Interventional Radiology

This is a very exciting time for cancer treatment and the work that we are doing here at Envita Interventional Radiology. Contact us today if you have further questions, our interventional radiology oncology team is here to provide guidance and give you an advantage to the approach of treating your cancer.

Please fill out your first name.
Please fill out your last name.
Please fill out your phone number.
Please fill out your email address.
Please select a requested call back time.
Please select a time zone.
You can only request a call back during our normal business hours of 8am-5pm Arizona Time. We cannot guarantee that you will receive a call back during your requested time but we will do our best to contact you as soon as possible.
Please select a patient condition.
Please select a relationship to the patient.
Please select how you heard about us.
Max. 1000 characters. Do not include any web urls.
Please fill out your inquiry.