Ovarian vein embolization is a procedure in which a damaged, varicose vein to the ovary is closed off or stented open to improve outflow, thereby alleviating the pain associated with pelvic congestion syndrome. It is performed in the hospital by an interventional radiologist on an outpatient basis. The radiologist makes a tiny puncture in a vein in either the groin or the neck and threads a catheter through the ovarian vein, guided by x-ray technology. A special material, either a gel that congeals or a tiny steel coil, is passed through the catheter to block the damaged vein. Once this vein is blocked, healthy veins take over and control blood flow to the pelvic area.
The treatment has successfully helped relieve pain and other symptoms in more than 80% of women with pelvic congestion syndrome. Recovery is rapid, and most women feel well enough to return to work the next day.