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Community Interventional Radiology

Treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome

Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) can usually be treated by a procedure called “transcatheter pelvic vein embolization.” Embolization involves blocking the blood flow in the problematic vein(s), allowing shrinkage and relief of symptoms.

For additional information about treatment for chronic pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS), visit www.indianafibroidcenter.com.

Day of the procedure

  • On the day of the procedure no preparation is necessary except that no foods or liquids should be taken by mouth after midnight the day of the procedure.
  • Most medications can be taken with a small amount of water the morning of the procedure. Please check with the Interventional Radiologist for help with your medications.
  • Prior to the procedure, an IV will be started, lab work will be done, and an antibiotic and fluids will be provided through your IV. A catheter will also be inserted into your bladder to allow it to drain.

The procedure

Typically, you are awake during the procedure but kept comfortable with medications. The procedure takes approximately 1 to 2 hours.

  • The interventional radiologist guides a small catheter, about the diameter of a piece of spaghetti, through the large vein in the neck (jugular vein) or groin (femoral vein).
  • With the guidance of fluoroscopy, the tip of the catheter is directed into the pelvic veins and ovarian veins. These are the veins that surround the uterus and ovaries.
  • Tiny stainless steel coils and a liquid, such as medical glue, are passed through the catheter and directed into the abnormal vein. This technique blocks the blood flow to the abnormal vein.
  • Once the vein is blocked and the vein has time to shrink, pressure and congestion are relieved. For most women, symptoms are significantly reduced.

After the procedure

Most patients will go home approximately 1-4 hours after the procedure. Some patients are observed overnight in the hospital. Patients are discharged with specific, pre-printed instructions for recovery at home. Time is spent with each patient before discharge, reviewing the instructions and answering questions.

Expected outcomes

Approximately 50-80% of women will have a significant reduction in pelvic pain. It takes time for the distended, stretched pelvic veins to shrink and relieve symptoms. It may take up to six months following the procedure to for optimal pain relief to occur. If symptoms do continue after the procedure, they are usually milder than previously experienced.

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