How pelvic vein embolisation works

Pelvic vein embolisation (or embolization) is a radiological procedure – which means that it is performed under x-ray (or other imaging) control.

The idea of the pelvic vein embolisation (or embolization) procedure is that a very fine tube – called a catheter – is inserted into a major vein under local anaesthetic and under ultrasound control. Using x-ray, this catheter is positioned into the pelvic vein that needs to be treated.

When in the right position, something is pushed out of the end of this fine tube (or catheter), which sits in the vein and causes the vein to clot. In reality, it is usually a metal coil that is inserted into the vein which is called an embolisation (or embolization) coil. This irritates the vein that goes into spasm and a small amount of blood clot is formed around the coil.

The idea of this does worry some people who think that a clot in the veins must be a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However when there is an underlying metal coil that has been designed to block the vein, the clot does not move and so this is not a concern.

As the pelvic vein embolisation (or embolization) device is often metal, it never disappears and so the vein never reopens. Some people do use chemicals or embolisation (or embolization) devices that dissolve. The worry with these is that once they have disappeared, the vein will come out in spasm, the thrombosis will be removed by the body and the vein will reopen causing a recurrence of the same problem again.

Next page: Veins that are suitable for pelvic vein embolisation

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