How it’s performed

How pelvic vein embolisation is performed

Pelvic vein embolisation (or embolization) is performed in a radiology suite by a doctor who is trained to do this.

Under sterile conditions, the patient is usually given a light sedation. Using an ultrasound scan, a needle is put into a major vein, usually the jugular vein in the neck.  Other doctors may prefer to try to use a vein in the groin, but this ends up with the equipment pointing the wrong way inside the major veins and is much harder to turn the catheter into the ovarian or internal iliac veins.

A very fine and very long tube called a catheter is inserted into the target vein using a guide wire under x-ray control, whether it is an ovarian vein or internal iliac vein. The doctor uses the results from the transvaginal duplex ultrasound scan to decide which veins to treat. Venous incompetence or venous reflux is not easily diagnosed by venography and therefore has to be done before this procedure is carried out.

Once the catheter has been passed into the correct vein, an embolisation (or embolization) device is passed down through the tube and out into the vein blocking it. The most usual device is a coil made of metal that has specially been made for use in the vascular system. Other techniques have been tried including foam sclerotherapy, gel foam and some other embolisation (or embolization) devices.However coil embolisation (or embolization) has been performed successfully and safely in this condition since the year 2000, and in other conditions for over 30 years.

Next page: The advantages and disadvantages of pelvic vein embolisation

This website was last updated on 03/10/17.