Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
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Embolisation for pelvic congestion syndrome

What is embolisation for pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome is caused by varicose veins inside the patient’s lower abdomen and causes chronic pain, which may become worse when standing. A minimally invasive treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome is embolisation, which reduces blood flow to the enlarged veins by blocking vessels supplying these veins.

How does the procedure work?

The procedure reduces blood flow to the varicose veins, which relieves the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome.

The interventional radiologist will insert a 2-3 mm catheter (tube) into a blood vessel in your groin and will guide the catheter to the affected blood vessel using image guidance. The interventional radiologist will usually use glue or coils (small metal spirals) to block the veins supplying the enlarged veins, though sometimes they will use an injection of alcohol (sclerotherapy). This causes blood to be diverted away from the affected veins and so reduces the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome.

Why perform it?

It is advised that you undergo treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome if you are experiencing symptoms which cause you discomfort, such as pain in your lower abdomen or a feeling of heaviness in your bladder area.

What are the risks?

Minor risks include bruising in the groin. More significant risks include glue or coils moving to other areas of your body and blocking other vessels.


1. Lopera J, Suri R, Kroma GM, Garza-Berlanga A, Thomas J. Role of interventional procedures in obstetrics/gynecology. Radiol Clin North Am. 2013 Nov; 51(6):1049-66.
2. van der Vleuten CJ, van Kempen JA, Schultze-Kool LJ. Embolization to treat pelvic congestion syndrome and vulval varicose veins. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Sep; 118(3):227-30.