Ovarian Vein Embolization
Ovarian Vein Embolization
Ovarian vein embolization (OVE) is a minimally invasive procedure for pelvic congestion syndrome.
Performed by our specially trained interventional radiologists at Vascular & Interventional Partners, OVE is the safest and most effective non-surgical procedure for pelvic congestion syndrome to date. As many as 95 percent of affected women find relief after undergoing this procedure. Complications are infrequent compared to open surgeries, and the results are
What Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
A condition similar to varicose veins found in the legs, pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a common cause of pelvic pain in women of childbearing age. It usually results from dilated and congested ovarian veins in the pelvis. However, other veins in the pelvic region can be affected as well.
The pain from PCS is typically chronic and present throughout the menstrual cycle, which is why the condition is so often debilitating. While its exact causes remain unknown, researchers have identified several risk factors:
- Multiple pregnancies
- A “tipped” uterus
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Varicose leg veins
- Hormonal issues
Interestingly, while 10 percent of all women have congested veins in the ovaries, only 60 percent of those develop pelvic congestion syndrome. This can make the condition challenging to diagnose as the mere presence of ovarian varices does not mean that pelvic pain is due to PCS.
Once the right diagnosis is established, women have many effective treatment options available. One such option is ovarian vein embolization.
Ovarian Vein Embolization for PCS
OVE is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to reduce discomfort in women with PCS.
It is one of the most commonly performed procedures at our Vascular & Interventional Partners clinic in Phoenix, AZ. Our specially trained interventional radiologists — doctors trained in the field of minimally invasive vascular procedures — perform this treatment in a safe and welcoming environment.
The procedure involves injecting medications or permanent embolic agents into abnormal blood vessels to block blood flow to the affected area. To do this, your doctor positions a catheter through a small entry point in the abdomen. Using specialized X-ray equipment, they then guide the catheter to the targeted area where the embolic agents are inserted to block the veins causing pain.
Once the procedure is complete, your doctor will remove the catheter and apply pressure to the treatment site to stop bleeding. Stitches are usually unnecessary, and scarring is minimal.
Preparing for Ovarian Vein Embolization
The ViP team will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for your procedure during one of your consultations. You will need to tell your doctor which medications, if any, you are taking and whether there is any chance you are pregnant. We may also perform blood work to see if you are healthy enough to undergo this type of treatment.
We typically tell our patients to stop taking aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood thinners, and vitamin E supplements at least a week before their procedure to minimize excessive bleeding. It's also important to avoid eating or drinking anything past midnight on the day of your treatment.
On the day of your OVE procedure, you will be admitted for preliminary assessment. It is a good idea to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. We may perform these treatments on an outpatient basis, so you may be able to go home within a couple of hours after your procedure.
Like any medical treatment, OVE comes with both benefits and risks.
- Less invasive than open surgery, coming with a smaller risk of bleeding, infection and other complications
- Bleeding is easier to control during embolization procedures compared to open surgery
- Quicker recovery time with short hospital stays — usually no longer than one day
- High success rates have been reported, often exceeding 75 percent
- No need for surgical incisions or stitches, which means minimal scarring and quick recovery
- Can be a safe minimally invasive alternative when attempting open surgery would be dangerous for the patient
- Allergic reactions to surgical equipment, contrast material or anesthetic agents used during the surgery, although these are rare
- Kidney damage due to medications used during the procedure
- Bruising or bleeding due to unpredicted damage to the blood vessels
- Post-surgery infection at the catheter site despite antibiotic use
- Damage to nearby organs, such as the ovaries or uterus, which may require their removal
- Radiation affecting the ovaries
- Recurrence of ovarian varices, which happens in up to 10 percent of patients
These complications from OVE are rare. Reports show only a three percent rate of occurrence for both initial and late-onset complications. In other words, the benefits of this procedure far outweigh the risks for most patients.
Schedule a consultation today!
To get started, please request a consultation online or call the ViP office at (480) 435-9100.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does ovarian vein embolization affect fertility?
Mostly no. However untreated ovarian varices may be associated with infertility in some women. In these cases, OVE can help restore fertility in women who have trouble conceiving. In women who have had OVE, pregnancy may lead to the recurrence of ovarian vertices.
What to expect after ovarian vein embolization?
Mild pain and discomfort are normal following OVE. Typically, patients experience cramping and nausea in the days following surgery, which is easy to manage with medication given upon discharge. You will likely be able to resume working and your day-to-day activities within two days following surgery.
Can ovarian vein embolization be reversed?
Embolic agents used during OVE may be permanent or temporary. Temporary agents block blood vessels long enough to allow the body to heal the damaged blood vessels on its own. Permanent ones physically block blood vessels, causing scarring inside the vessel to minimize the risk of recurrence.
Does insurance cover ovarian vein embolization?
Most insurance companies cover OVE procedures. You will need to contact your health insurance provider to determine what your specific plan covers. Our in-house precertification specialist can assist you with the preauthorization process.
How successful is the ovarian vein embolization procedure?
Success rates for OVE range between 75 and 95 percent. Most women see improvement soon after recovery, with few requiring further procedures.