Pelvic Vein Embolisation

At Veincentre, many of our consultants are experts in treating pelvic venous congestion syndrome (PVC), and can offer consultations and diagnostic ultrasound scans at some of our clinics. If you require treatment, this will have to be carried out in a hospital with the required specialist X-Ray equipment.

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There has been a lot of media coverage on these conditions and their modern-day treatment, most recently with an award-winning docu-series on PrimeVideo and Netflix called Without a Scalpel. The third episode, “HYSTERical”, concentrates on PVC and follows the stories of three women. (Warning: it is very American!)

A more British description of pelvic venous congestion syndrome is also available on the British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR) website. Many of our doctors belong to the BSIR.

 

Treatment for pelvic varicose veins

The valve failure that causes PVC normally occurs in the veins that drain the ovaries, especially the left ovary. This can be detected by a magnetic resonance scan, but we often recommend, when PVC is suspected clinically by the symptoms and clinical examination, that we proceed straight to what is called a catheter venogram as whilst doing that test the treatment can be carried out at the same time saving both time and money.

The catheter venogram is an X-Ray investigation whereby a thin plastic tube (a catheter) is inserted into a large vein in the groin or neck, and is then guided into the ovarian vein using movie X-Rays. Dye is then injected, and X-Ray images are taken, to show whether the valves in the veins are faulty, and to highlight exactly which veins. The valve failure often affects more than one vein.

Once it is determined that the valves have failed, the same catheter can be used as a conduit through which coils of wire and wool are inserted, thereby blocking and killing off the abnormal veins. Sometimes, glues or sclerosant chemicals are used to achieve the same result.

The procedure is technically demanding on our side, but as a patient, you will hardly feel anything happening. It takes less than an hour to close off all affected veins, and you can get back to normal life after a 30-minute rest and a nice cup of tea.

 

How much does it cost?

Unfortunately, we cannot quote a fixed price for this treatment, because it requires specialist X-Ray equipment and must be undertaken in a hospital environment. As these hospitals are not Veincentre clinics, we regrettably have no control over what each hospital charges. Different hospitals charge different fees, which can vary widely, but you can expect costs to be between £2,500 and £7,000.

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