What is gonadal vein embolization?

Gonadal vein embolization is a minimally invasive, outpatient hospital treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome. The goal is to close off faulty veins so they can no longer enlarge with blood, thus relieving pain and symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome.
A sedative will be administered to you during the procedure. The procedure is performed under ultrasound and fluoroscopy guidance. Small catheters are advanced through veins inside your body to the faulty veins causing pain. Once these veins are identified, the radiologist treats the veins to stop blood flow to this area which is the source of the problem.

Why would you need gonadal vein embolization?

Pelvic congestion syndrome is similar to varicose veins in the legs. In pelvic congestion syndrome, valves inside your veins in the pelvis become weakened, allowing blood to pool in the vein and cause pressure and pain. The causes of chronic pelvic pain are varied, but are often associated with the presence of gonadal and pelvic varicose veins.
In both cases, the valves inside your veins that help return blood to the heart against gravity become weakened and don’t close properly. This allows blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein, causing pressure and bulging veins. In the pelvis, varicose veins can cause pain and affect the uterus, ovaries and vulva.
The chronic pain that is associated with this disease is usually dull and aching. Women experience a dragging sensation or pain in the pelvis. Symptoms include:

  • Deep pelvic pain when sitting or standing
  • Pain that worsens throughout the day
  • Bulging veins on the vulva, buttocks and/or the thighs
  • Painful menstrual cycles
  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • Lower abdominal and back pain
  • Fullness of the leg veins

The varicose veins in the pelvis surround the ovaries and can also push on the bladder and rectum. Other symptoms include:

  • Irritable bladder
  • Itching
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Varicose veins on the labia, buttocks and thigh are a definite sign of pelvic venous congestion.

Risks Involved

Our ability to use imaging guidance and cutting-edge technology minimizes patient risk. Prior to your procedure, your physician will discuss any potential risks with you.

Conditions to let us know about

Let your doctor know if you currently are pregnant or breast feeding, feeling ill, have a fever, or are taking any blood thinners.

Insurance coverage

Gonadal Vein Embolization is covered by most private insurance providers as well as Medicare. We will seek authorization from your insurance company prior to your procedure.

Preparing for your procedure

If you are on blood thinners your doctor will instruct you if you need to stop these medications prior to the procedure. If your procedure requires sedation, then you will need a responsible adult to give you a ride home.

Recovering from your procedure

You may possibly receive mild to moderate sedation during your procedure. You will stay in the recovery area until you are ready for discharge. You will be given written post procedure discharge instructions that will advise you about return to normal physical activity. If you have any questions after your procedure, please call the RIA Interventional Suite at 720-493-3406.

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