Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
PatientsPatients general informationIR proceduresEmbolization for pelvic congestion syndrome

Embolization for pelvic congestion syndrome

What is embolization for pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome ican be caused by varicose veins inside the patient’s lower abdomen. It causes chronic pain, which may become worse when standing or with sexual intercourse.

Emboloization reduces blood flow to the enlarged veins by blocking vessels supplying these veins.
The blockage of the dilated pelvic veins can improve patients symptoms.

How does the procedure work?

Embolization for pelvic congestion syndrome is a non painful minimally invasive technique. The interventional radiologist will insert a 2-3 mm catheter (tube) into a blood vessel in your groin or upper limb. A catheter will be inserted inside the dilated vessels using image guidance. The interventional radiologist will usually use glue, coils (small metal spirals) and/ or alcohol to block the veins supplying the enlarged veins. This will decrease pelvic blood into the dilated pelvic veins and an improvement of pelvic congestion syndrome symptoms will be noted.

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.